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Trisha
Dedicated September 2021

Tips for Standing (yes standing)

Trisha, on April 2, 2021 at 9:00 AM Posted in Fitness and Health 0 15
Hi friends! So, I have moderate scoliosis with a low back curve and degenerative disc disease ( I鈥檓 26 so genetics really screwed me on that roll 馃檭) that really makes standing or walking for long periods a pain in the ass-literally. I鈥檝e bought fatigue mats for my sink and stove areas to help with standing pain and I鈥檓 working on building up my core muscles to really help support that lower back.

It seems like my upper back and quads are relatively strong so it鈥檚 just my core and hamstrings/glutes that could really use strengthening. Trouble is, the internet always says squats are my only solution. Performing squats gets insanely painful very quickly and I need an alternative.

I鈥檓 especially concerned about this for my wedding day considering the heavy dress I鈥檓 going to be wearing; I鈥檓 sure my back isn鈥檛 going to be a fan.
Any day to day tips for lower back pain reduction or strength/fitness tips for someone still trying to get in shape would be greatly appreciated!


***edit: I鈥檝e worked with physical therapists in the past with little progress. My insurance does not cover any PT now so unfortunately trying PT again is not realistic option.

15 Comments

Latest activity by Kari, on April 11, 2021 at 5:20 PM
  • H
    Master July 2019
    Hannah
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    Have you spoken with a physical therapist? Given your medical conditions, that may be covered by insurance. They should be able to give you safe, individualized workout/treatment plans.
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  • Trisha
    Dedicated September 2021
    Trisha
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    Yes, I should have included this in my original post. I鈥檝e been to 3 different rounds of physical therapy. My insurance now doesn鈥檛 cover anything until I鈥檝e paid 8k outta pocket 馃檮 I have some reference materials I鈥檝e saved from past PT sessions that I use for stretching and light strength training but they always treat me like an injury, not a person working with their full abilities :/
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  • MOB So Cal
    January 2019
    MOB So Cal
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    I agree with pp about seeking advice from a PT. I had severe degenerative scoliosis and did PT for years and found it very helpful. Eventually, my situation deteriorated to the point where I had to have a massive surgery 5 years ago. With more PT, my life is now awesome! Hang in and good luck!

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  • H
    Master July 2019
    Hannah
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    Ugh, I'm sorry. And it sounds like you haven't had a great experience with the PTs you've worked with, as that should not be how you feel when working with someone.
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  • C
    Master January 2019
    Cassidy
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    I don鈥檛 have suggestions for strengthening your muscles. But, if the mats help in the kitchen, can you have one for you to stand on during the ceremony? If you鈥檙e having any readings, poems, etc you can have chairs for you and FH to sit in to reduce standing time.
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  • MOB So Cal
    January 2019
    MOB So Cal
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    Sorry about your lack of access to PT through your insurance. If you were happy with someone you've seen in the past, you might call and ask them about seeing you as a cash patient. At one point our insurance changed and the PT I loved (had worked with her both before and after my surgery) was no longer on our plan. They were willing to see me for about the same amount as I had been paying for my copay on our old (and much better) insurance. Even if you can just pay for a few appointments where they give you specific advice about things you can do on your own to feel better and stronger for the wedding, that might be worth it. Once you know what to do, I'd guess it's going to be a matter of commitment -- building strength and stamina requires consistent work -- there is absolutely no way around that. Also, no matter how uncomfortable I've been over 35+ years due to my scoliosis, the more I force myself to move, the better off I am in the long run. Unless there is a medical contraindication, force yourself to walk everyday, and obviously, when choosing your "wedding shoes" go for comfort and support over anything else! From someone who's been there (double S curve with one curve above 70 degrees and another greater than 65 degrees, 15+ hour surgery over two days, and months of recovery), it is possible to feel better! Good luck! (If you haven't already, you might look at the National Scoliosis Foundation website, especially the "Patient Support" link for resources and potential referrals. Also, for dealing with acute pain, I often found temporary relief -- 8-12 hours -- with ThermaCare heat wraps [the ones for neck/wrist/shoulder that stick directly on like a giant bandaid worked better for me than the ones labeled for backs]. Before I retired, I was a college professor, standing in front of a classroom for HOURS, and a ThermaCare wrap was a huge help.)

    Best wishes!

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  • Trisha
    Dedicated September 2021
    Trisha
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    Those are good ideas! We鈥檙e definitely keeping the ceremony short for our guests comfort and mine 馃槉

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  • Trisha
    Dedicated September 2021
    Trisha
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    Thanks for acknowledging that. I feel the same way. At this point I wonder if it鈥檚 time to look for a personal trainer rather than a physical therapist. I don鈥檛 want to be treated as a fragile person, I鈥檓 young, I can be strong!
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  • Trisha
    Dedicated September 2021
    Trisha
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    That鈥檚 all great advice, I鈥檓 going to check out that website!
    The moving thing is so huge, I was always in pain so I avoided activity if I could help it not realizing that I was making things worse. I鈥檝e joined an aqua Zumba class at my local rec center and it鈥檚 changed my life already! It鈥檚 super low impact because we鈥檙e in the water (like water aerobics) but big time core strengthening + some cardio. I鈥檓 doing things I wasn鈥檛 capable of just 6 weeks ago and I feel like the dancing, jumping, moving is bringing me back to life. It鈥檚 amazing how important movement is.
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  • MOB So Cal
    January 2019
    MOB So Cal
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    Honestly, I'd had an orthopedist who told me there was absolutely NOTHING surgically that could be done because my back was such a mess, so that put me on a long-term path with an awesome PT. She eventually said, "you need to see a scoliosis specialist, you're too young to have the issues you're having" (part of my spine had actually collapsed -- I'd lost 3.5" -- and my internal organs were being compressed...). She referred me to a great GP who then immediately sent me to one of the premier scoliosis surgeons at a major University medical center. Within an hour of meeting him, he made me feel hopeful and encouraged that life could be significantly better. It was NOT easy; I went through hell with the surgery and nearly a year of recovery, but It kept me mobile and prevented multiple organ failure.... I got to dance all night at my daughter's wedding -- something that would have been impossible prior to my surgery. Keep searching for more highly skilled care. I was in my late-50's when I finally had my surgery -- originally diagnosed when I was 12. The upside is that during those 30+ years the surgical technology has advanced so much (part of my surgery was done by a robot! Smiley smile ), what they accomplished for me was nothing short of a miracle! Hopefully, you don't need surgery, but a scoliosis specialist and their team can give you the best advice. Good luck!

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  • MOB So Cal
    January 2019
    MOB So Cal
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    Absolutely! Especially with scoliosis "move it or lose it" is absolutely true! It's easy to fall into the "it hurts to move" trap and just sit around, but that is only going to make things worse in the long run! It's amazing how powerful and strong I feel now -- my husband and daughter joke that I'm bionic! Good luck!

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  • M
    VIP January 2019
    Maggie
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    Have you tried any pilates workouts? I think regular pilates practice is amazing for total body strength, but especially the core (and in pilates, "core" is shoulders to hips, front, back and sides of entire torso). There are mat workouts and reformer (a machine) workouts. I have only ever done mat classes (much less expensive). It's a very customizable and modifiable practice.

    As far as your wedding day, you are so smart to plan for how YOU will be the most comfortable. Definitely have a short ceremony. Schedule breaks throughout the day where you make sure to sit. Be open with people if you are chatting and need to sit.

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  • Trisha
    Dedicated September 2021
    Trisha
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    I鈥檝e never tried Pilates! It always looks so intimidating and intense on TV! I鈥檓 not in great cardio shape and I get discouraged easily with stuff like that so I鈥檝e tried to avoid it but it does look fun!
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  • M
    VIP January 2019
    Maggie
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    What I love about it is that there are a bunch of easy ways to modify each exercise for YOUR level. Instructors will work modifications right into their lessons. Proper form is more important than reaching past your level.

    If you can (I know COVID complicates this), seek out in person classes to give it a try. You can maintain at home once you know the right form for each exercise (there are a million YouTube workouts), but instructor guidance is really important in the beginning.

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  • Kari
    Master May 2020
    Kari
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    Do you know if your pelvis is correctly aligned?

    I have had low back pain for a while. I've had an issue with my back "locking up" since I was a teen but never really had constant pain until the past few years. I used to lift weights and am still fitter than the average person (but no where near as fit as I was 7-8 years ago), but the pain was getting in the way of me being as active as I wanted. I finally realized I have somehow developed an anterior pelvic tilt and started paying attention to my alignment. I have made a conscious effort to realign my pelvis in a neutral position (instead of sticking my butt out) and keep my core tight, and it has reduced my pain substantially. Sometimes just being aware of your alignment and working on targeting the areas that need help can make a huge difference!

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