I was always a victim of bullying at school. Some kids used to think that I was a deformed human being due to my scoliosis. However, I didn’t pay too much attention to what they were saying; it kind of sucks that I have to deal with them every day emotionally. At times, I get tired of trying to explain to these individuals what my condition is. Others are seemed open and aware of it. At the same time, few don’t want to educate themselves. I am not comfortable with other people’s help, so I would rather isolate myself most of the time. I believe that my troubles are mine and alone.
Honestly, as much as I want to stay positive and just let it go, I somehow feel trapped. My whole life, I had to deal with different people who didn’t seem to care about what I was going through. And the worse part of that is I am beginning to believe that what everybody thinks of me is my reality. But fortunately, after talking to my therapist, she said I shouldn’t feel bad about my condition. My healthcare provider asked me to examine my mental and emotional state because she thinks I might be too hard on myself. Here’s how she confidently managed to identify that.
I Always Allow People To Bully Me – There is nothing much I can do with my current condition. I don’t see myself in such positive light. Perhaps that is the reason why I sometimes spit out some stupid statements such as “I am not worthy of living.” I allowed people to constantly bully me because I didn’t think that my feelings would matter. I hold on to this mentality that I don’t deserve to be friends with anyone at school because soon after, I know they will leave me. It is weird, but I just let others say mean things to me because that’s what I am used to. Besides, what they are saying is sometimes partially true, like “You’re ugly,” “You look disgusting,” “You look like you struggled your whole life with scoliosis” Surely, those are hurtful words, but I know deep down those are the truth I need to live with.
I Neglect Taking Care Of Myself – My therapist said that I possibly hate myself because I neglect to take care of it. I could deny it immediately because I wouldn’t consider therapy if I had bad blood between myself. However, when I think of it, the habits I do and my lifestyle can tell otherwise. With the anxiety and emotional distraught caused by some people around me who used to view my physical condition negatively, I can’t help but lose focus. I admit I don’t sleep well, eat right, and do not exert any effort to look nice for myself. I already forgot how to smile and genuinely make myself happy. I refuse to pamper myself because soon enough, others would immediately cut that pleasant feeling I give to myself.
I Don’t Acknowledge My Achievements – I don’t brag, but I know I am intelligent. I am good at Math, and I am probably one of the most articulate students in our class. But unfortunately, I do not feel proud about it. And no matter how far I often made it to the top, and despite my ability to single-handedly accomplish things, I still feel not worthy enough. I grapple with feelings of self-loathing because I am dealing with a physical condition that takes away my confidence. Don’t get me wrong, I do not self-sabotage, and I am not planning to do it ever. However, I still hold onto the negative view of myself. I am aware of my skills, but I can’t find the right courage to appreciate myself. I would rather not expose myself to avoid becoming a constant target of physical, emotional, and mental torture.
I Am My Own Worst Enemy – I often pressure myself to excel at something due to my scoliosis. It sometimes suffocates me because I find it unnecessary for my mental and emotional health. I dislike my current self, which is why I can probably say tons of negative things about myself. Tearing myself down has become a daily habit, and I often stick to the insecurities inside of my head. I am quick to blame myself for every bad thing happening, and I take all the responsibility even if it is not my fault. I feel hate towards myself whenever things go wrong because I believe it is all because of me. I often criticize myself for every bit of mistake I make because that’s what people say. Every time I look in the mirror, all I see is a reflection of a girl who has scoliosis, which is unworthy of love, care, and attention.
Bad body image does not often relate to the extent of the spinal curve. Your adolescent might have a minor existing curve and be bothered by their body image. He could decline to wear tight tops or bathing suits. On the contrary, she might have a major spinal deformity and alterations to his body shape without having issues with his body image.
Impact Of Scoliosis On Teenagers
Adolescent idiopathic or even congenital scoliosis significantly impacts the shape of an adolescent’s body – his shoulder blade, hips, rib cage, and definitely his back. Often, these alterations can impact the way teens with scoliosis curves perceive their body images and themselves as well.
Having been diagnosed with this disease may significantly induce stress. When he was previously diagnosed, your child could have felt fear, withdrawal, anxiety, and depression. These emotions could improve eventually.
If your child needs to don braces before surgery, they could face more challenges, such as feeling indifferent, teasing and bullying by their schoolmates, and arguing with you as parents about why he has to wear the brace.
If teens with mild scoliosis require obvious surgery, here are some issues they will need to face:
Concerns about having to miss school or fail in school
Problems with activities that he won’t be able to perform following surgery
Fear of having the surgery, including its risks
Problems concerning pain following surgery
Other concerns that would make it challenging to adjust to the diagnosis include:
Past challenges with managing other circumstances
Denial, which means declining to acknowledge the actual diagnosis and its treatment
Constant family problems
Prolonged diagnosis treatment
History of being ridiculed or badgered at school
You, your adolescent, or other family members have a pre-existing mental health condition like depression, eating disorder, or anxiety, among others.
Conversely, not all diagnosed adolescents respond negatively.
A certain study revealed that about 40% of teens were not worried about being diagnosed with the large curves condition, and 50% of teens that have undergone surgery claimed that they felt more free and mature. Nevertheless, if you are troubled or if your adolescent has shared his worries with you, be sure that you inform his surgeon as soon as possible.
Teenagers Handling The Anxiety
Research shows that it is typical for teenagers with scoliosis to have increased stress levels before having surgery. Indications of stress include restlessness, worry, irritability, tension, nervousness, and tension. These signs and symptoms are occasionally felt as depression or anxiety.
Learning to deal with stress requires practice. Your youngster might find it beneficial to think about and learn techniques for managing stress before going into several different types of surgery. These techniques can also be utilized to deal with pain experienced following surgery.
Knowing what to anticipate from the surgery for severe scoliosis can tremendously help children be more relieved and confident about the outcomes. Urge your adolescent always to ask questions and be assertive about any concerns he has before his surgery, may it be back surgery or spinal fusion surgery. It may also be helpful for you and your youngster to first study further severe curves progression and the reasons why your adolescent needs surgery. It could be based on your family history, on current child’s spine curves, or genetic and environmental factors.
Scoliosis Surgery And Recovery
Being admitted to the hospital can be tough for kids, particularly adolescents. Adolescence is a period when peer relationships, privacy, independence, and body image are crucially important. Surgery and recovery from that can affect each aspect as teenagers rely on others to meet their standards, time required to be away from school, and experience modifications in a bad posture of physical appearance.
In the hospital, your teen is urged to:
Express how he feels with friends and family or perhaps the community’s social worker.
Learn and practice stress management techniques when he feels frustrated, hurt, or overwhelmed.
Stay in touch with family and friends.
Remember that being in the hospital is not permanent
Find ways to distract himself. The hospital has different interesting spaces for him and the entire family and fun activities that can be done in your teen’s room. Your youngster can also do his projects and homework while he’s admitted.
Keep in mind that your adolescent needs a care team and support from his family after his surgery for at least 4 weeks, as he may be feeling weak and defenseless.
Just imagine the amount of pressure of wearing metal rods only to get rid of small curves in the body. Some deal with one side ribs, pelvis, and bone disfigurement.
Occasionally, the vulnerability could come across as violence, confusion, or anger. Your adolescent might not verbally express his emotions of anxiety and stress. You may find that he is feeling stressed by observing his behavior. Thus regular checkups are required at this stage.
Indications of stress in children, youngsters, and adolescents may include headaches, stomach problems, irritability, mood changes, problems at school, constant crying, changes in sleep patterns, and difficulty concentrating, among others.
Teens need care and support after their back surgery
Please find out how your adolescent is feeling by hearing out his concerns and encouraging free-flowing conversation. Avoid interruptions like using phones while talking with your youngster. You can fix every issue, but you can accept and understand your loved one and what he’s going through.
As parents, we can also mirror positive strategies for handling our stress. Don’t forget to take care of yourself, deal with daily demands, and ask for help when you need it. As your adolescent recuperates, incite a gradual return to his usual activities in and out of school, including activities among his peers. Support what your adolescent is doing positively and the improvements he is making while he is recuperating.
Talking With A Counselor Or Social Worker Before Surgery Helps
A counselor or social worker is available to assist adolescents and their families in dealing with the issues that may emerge during surgery. Your adolescent may tell you that he wants to talk to a counselor before he goes into surgery or wants to see a social worker while he is in the hospital. The social worker can guide you and your youngster with tough emotions, promote your family’s needs, deal with stress, and provide you with connections to support and resources from the local community.
The period of teenhood is tough for everyone because they go through body modifications, peer pressure, and rising hormones. When a teen is diagnosed with idiopathic scoliosis, it can cause things to be even more difficult.
If your teen with scoliosis has depression, recognizing it early and seeking counseling by a licensed professional can tremendously help get successful results.
I Got Diagnosed With Scoliosis
Other typical difficulties with scoliosis teen counseling may include:
Sideward curves of the spine or rib humps are visible if using a swimsuit or dressing in the locker room.
Donning a back brace that seems awkward and needs limitation of activities, like only being able to shower, swim, or exercise at scheduled times daily when the brace is not worn. Other back braces would be noticeable even with clothes on, and this could cause teasing or questions.
Clothing that fits unevenly, like one sleeve looking too long and the other sleeve looking too short.
Subsequently, adolescents coping with scoliosis also have a higher likelihood of having depression, so adolescents counseling administered by vetted therapists might be needed.
Mild Scoliosis Could Decrease Teen’s Confidence
Scoliosis curvatures are conventionally gauged by using what is known as Cobb angle. This is described as an angle formed by the most skewed vertebra below the spine’s apex and the most skewed vertebra over the curvature’s apex. The sizes of these curves differ – they range from scarcely considered as scoliosis, which is 10 degrees or not visible, to major curvatures that are simply evident when wearing a swimsuit.
Adolescents and young adult scoliosis are intimately associated with decreased self-confidence, although some studies imply that findings are slightly independent of its curve size. Teens with comparatively minor cases of scoliosis may still experience severe psychological challenges because of their scoliosis and find themselves in need of teen therapy from a licensed professional therapist or counselor.
There is a lack of a robust connection between minor to severe Cobb angles and self-confidence, and this could be due to how individuals feel about their condition, which is subjective. An adolescent may have a minor curve yet still be disturbed by the thought of having some form of abnormal spine curvature, even though it is hardly noticeable.
Another adolescent may have a major curve but can adjust to it efficiently.
Numerous other elements would be involved, like the thought that probably another adolescent with a milder form of scoliosis might be bullied or ridiculed for it compared to an adolescent with a more serious case.
Emotional Support For A Teen With Scoliosis
When an adolescent is diagnosed with scoliosis, there might be a feeling of lack of control. There is no cure for scoliosis – either the brace only prevents worsening of the curvature, or surgery aligns and fuses fragments of the spine. If bracing is suggested, it usually entails stringent rules concerning the tightness of the brace, when it should be donned, and the dos and don’ts while the brace is on.
Whatever family, friends, and significant others can do to urge teens with scoliosis can be beneficial.
For example, expressing verbal support, taking time to listen about how he feels or assisting him with some tasks that he finds difficult to do alone, and simply being with him and taking part in his activities, interesting or not.
If an adolescent begins to show indications of depression – like a strange, longstanding mood change or more and more time spent alone – it is crucial to reach out to a mental health suitable therapist capable of assessing his situation. By doing so, they would be able to provide the appropriate mental health treatment for the teens suffering from issues of anxiety, bullying, troubled relationships, child trauma, and other range of issues and concerns.
In severe cases, continuous mental health services may be needed to maximize the mental health benefits of the adolescent to avoid further severe mental health conditions.
Idiopathic scoliosis in itself does not usually lead to physical pain in adolescents and young adults; it can result in other types of discomfort, pain, and other challenges.
If conservative treatment no longer works for the teen, the doctor will most probably recommend spinal fusion surgery. Scoliosis surgery is a comparatively harmless procedure with good reviews and excellent outcomes; it is still a major procedure. The recuperation process could take six up to twelve months and can be demanding physically and mentally.
Awkward Brace Treatment
Experienced therapists’ most commonly recommended noninvasive scoliosis treatment is to put on an inflexible brace that tightens on the wearer’s torso. This treatment is quite uncomfortable, particularly when the adolescent’s body is initially trying to get used to wearing the brace. Wearing it would also add to the adolescent’s disappointment by being too warm or too tight, making him finish his daily tasks longer than usual.
Many teens struggle with the thought of being different from the rest of their friends. Some of their feelings might include embarrassment, fear, sadness, anger, or denial. If an adolescent is also being bullied in school, his situation would even worsens.
Mental Treatment for Adolescents Suffering From Scoliosis Final Thoughts
Because of the numerous challenges that you can expect with scoliosis, experts have revealed that teenagers with the condition have a serious risk of developing depression. If an adolescent does have depression, recognizing it early and seeking immediate help from licensed mental health professionals or even online counseling or professional therapy can tremendously help get successful results in dealing with mental health issues.
Talk and communicate with a mental health expert and help teens.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Is counseling effective for teenagers?
How do I know if my teenager needs therapy?
What type of licensed therapists should a teenager see?
Can 15 year olds get therapy?
How can I get counseling without my parents knowing?
Do counselors tell your parents?
Can parents sit in on therapy phone and video sessions?
Why won’t my parents let me go to a therapist?
How do you ask your parents if you can see a therapist?
I loved everything about being a gymnast. I had always loved dressing up, dancing, and putting on some makeup. More importantly, I was exemplary at it, and my coaches admired my competitive spirit. “How can someone look so sweet and fierce on the mat?” they used to say. I had been competing ever since I reached the minimum age limit for tournaments and racking up wins, much to everyone’s delight.
A Glitch In My Plans
Despite the glitz and glam that came with gymnastics, it was no different from other sports in training difficulty. Every morning, I had to stretch all my limbs to stay as flexible as possible even when there was no competition. If I had to compete, I would have to wake up earlier than everybody, head to the gym for an hour, go to school, do my homework, and train for two to four hours after that. I managed to juggle my activities easily when I was still in elementary school, although things became challenging as years passed by.
It came to the point where I had to be homeschooled for half a year as I started competing out of state in middle school. What little I got to rest, I had to spend half of it studying. More than once, I cried to my parents out of exhaustion and wanted to quit school to focus on gymnastics, but they said that I needed a fallback plan. “Sports is not a lifetime job. While it’s great to compete as much as you can now, there will come a time when you’ll need to retire,” Dad said.
When I heard that, I laughed. Though I knew that my father only spoke the truth, I was only 16 years old then – I thought I still had a decade to become a legendary gymnast. That’s what I had been aiming for all this time; that’s why I had been pushing my body to the limit whenever I trained and competed.
Unfortunately, during an executive checkup, the doctor saw a slight curvature in my spine. It was not too prominent at the time, but the doctor advised me to avoid training too much. I did not speak back then, though I was screaming in my head. How could I tell my coaches to lessen my activities when we were on a roll at the time? I had many competitions lined up, and everyone counted on me to bring home medals and trophies.
As stubborn as I was, I did not listen to the doctor. After several months, I woke up with a painful back. I also felt that something’s wrong whenever I stood up straight, so I asked my parents to take me to the clinic again. That’s when the doctor told me that I had scoliosis. While the news shook me, I was not prepared for my parents’ mutual decision to make me retire at 16 years old.
When The Lights Went Out
Of course, I could not disagree with Mom and Dad. They were right – my health was more important than anything. Despite that, I could not help but feel sad about it. My entire career had already been mapped out years ago. I was always a strong competitor, so my coaches believed that I could hold world records in no time. But then, scoliosis came into the picture and derailed everything.
I felt lost and unmotivated to do anything for a while after that. My parents did not know about it until much later, but I often came home past 8 p.m. and told them that I already ate with my friends. In reality, I merely stayed at the park and stared into nothing until the sky went dark. I had always been slim, so they did not notice that I lost a little weight from my appetite loss. Some days, I would lie to my parents about feeling ill to avoid going to school.
I did not think much about my symptoms until I read an article about depression. I ticked off most – if not all – the symptoms, making me believe that I had the mental disorder.
Is it possible to diagnose yourself with depression?
It is impossible to diagnose yourself with depression, considering you are not trained to do so. The best thing you can do is download a screening self-test and check which symptoms you possibly have. But then again, that is nothing compared to booking an appointment with a psychiatrist or psychologist and letting the expert assess your condition.
What are the chances of having depression?
In reality, everyone can have depression. This mental disorder does not even choose how to age it manifests, considering kids diagnosed with depression. However, your chances of getting depressed increases if:
You have a direct relative with depression.
You have a pre-existing mental disorder that makes you feel sad and lonely all the time.
You have dealt with some form of abuse, and nothing seems to help you get over it.
You have acquired a new physical illness, but you cannot accept it.
What is the highest cause of depression?
Genetics is perhaps the highest cause of depression. Studies reveal that it covers 40% of the problem – a percentage that becomes more probable if depression has been detected in your parents, siblings, and other direct relatives. The remaining 60% can then be divided into abuse, stress, peer pressure, and various environmental factors.
How does depression affect synapse?
Depression affects neural synapses by technically cutting them off and giving them no chance to regrow. The longer you leave your depression untreated, the more synapses will most likely get destroyed. The only way to reverse this problem is by taking antidepressants.
Is school the cause of depression?
Yes, the school can be the cause of depression for some people – particularly students. This issue is not prevalent among bullied individuals alone. In reality, even high-achieving students tend to get depressed because of academic pressure. Their depression may become more severe as their neural connections start to die and cause short-term memory and forgetfulness.
How do I know if I’m bipolar?
Bipolar disorder is one of the trickiest mood disorders to diagnose, considering you may keep on experiencing symptoms of mania and depression. Still, if you are looking for the early signs of bipolar disorder, here they are:
You do not merely feel down. Instead, you cannot sleep, or you oversleep, lose interest in everything you used to enjoy, feel sluggish, and are unable to concentrate.
Some days, you feel like you will never run out of energy. You want to do everything at once or be everywhere at once. Even if you experience failure, you shake it off and move on to the next adventure.
Dealing with manic symptoms may make you happy at first, but you will eventually feel out of control. While you may know that you should not do something, you still do it.
Is it okay to self-diagnose anxiety?
No, it is not okay to self-diagnose anxiety. Self-tests exist so that individuals can assess their likelihood of having a specific mental disorder. However, considering you are neither a psychologist nor a psychiatrist, you can’t determine your condition or how severe it may be.
Can you self-diagnose a mental illness?
Technically, there are many screening self-tests that you can consult if you want to guarantee that you have a mental illness before contacting a psychiatrist or psychologist. These typically come in the form of questionnaires or checklists, and the more items you tick off, the higher your chances are of having a psychological condition.
Despite self-tests, many mental health professionals discourage people from trying them, considering it can trivialize the disorder. Others tend to avoid getting an official diagnosis as they believe they already know what’s happening to them.
Who is at the most significant risk for depression?
A young female adult has the highest chance of getting depression than anyone. In truth, studies reveal that females are twice more likely than males to get depressed. Though more research must be conducted regarding the matter, it may have something to do with the fact that men can compartmentalize their thoughts while women cannot.
Which age group has the highest rate of depression?
The young adult group has the highest depression rate. This ranges from 18 to 25 years old.
Assuming you wonder why young adults are more prone to getting depressed than others, there are many possible reasons for that, such as:
Young adults have a twisted standard of beauty in their minds, no thanks to the physical enhancements that they may have seen on TV personalities.
Young adults are dealing with more stress than they admit. Stress is one of the commonly known trigger factors for various mental disorders, including depression.
Young adults have experienced irreversible life changes. For instance, their parents may have divorced, have failed to enter their dream college, etc.
What is the primary cause of depression?
There is no primary cause of depression because that will imply that one cause is more prevalent than the other. In reality, depression results from various causes acting together, such as genetics, stressful events, pre-existing psychological disorders, etc. Despite that, studies suggest that if you have a family member with depression, there is a high likelihood that you or another close relative will get diagnosed with it too.
Which country has the highest rate of depression?
China has been reported to have the highest depression rate globally, considering more than 100 million individuals were affected by the mental disorder in 2016. However, the problem is that not all of them have received a diagnosis, so their depression is left untreated. That’s one reason China has seen an increase in the number of suicide cases in the country.
Does depression count as a disability?
Yes, depression counts as a disability. The more severe it gets, the more it prevents you from living naturally and doing your daily tasks. However, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) does not recognize a mild form of depression.
What part of the brain causes depression?
The changes in the brain’s three vital parts – the amygdala, hippocampus, and hypothalamus –cause depression. After all, the mental disorder begins with a decrease in a person’s serotonin levels. When that happens, the hippocampus fills the void with cortisol, the stress hormone. Instead of helping, though, it makes matters worse.
As if that is not enough, the oxygen supply in the brain decreases, causing inflammation. The longer there is no oxygen in the brain, the more neural connections will die. Because of that, the person develops short-term memory loss and mood swings.
I came clean to my parents about my possible mental health condition and told them everything I had been doing in the past months. It was the first time I saw them cry out of helplessness, but I assured them that I wanted to be okay. After my revelation, they helped me contact a psychologist and went on to do psychotherapy.
I’m not sure if depression will ever go away completely, but I feel better now, and I can’t wait to get into college.
I got diagnosed with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS) at 14 years old. It meant that my spinal column had a slight yet defined curve that simple stretching or walking with books on top of my head could not fix.
Yes, I understood how unbelievable it sounded to many. When I mentioned the diagnosis to my friends, they even said, “Get out of here! You’re just pulling our legs, and we’re not falling for it, sister.” They only believed me when I turned my back and asked them to trace my spinal curvature. Most of them didn’t know what to say immediately after that, except for one who exclaimed, “Dang, it was like a snake in there!”
Despite that comment, my friends cared for me throughout middle school up to high school. Whenever my back hurt from carrying a bag full of books for too long, they took turns holding it for me. They often asked how I was, too, especially when we’re doing exhausting things for P.E. classes. E.g., running, volleyball, basketball, etc.
The Real Problem
Some people thought that my life was still relatively easy, even though I was dealing with scoliosis. After all, I had never been bullied because of it, and everyone wanted to give me moral support. However, because of my scoliosis, I needed to quit cheerleading, which had been a massive part of my life for as long as I could remember.
Being a teenager, it made me question my status at school. I used to be among the cool kids at school because I was poised to become a head cheerleader, you see. People knew my name or the girl who could more flip in the air than you could count. Then, when I left cheerleading, I realized that that’s all I was. I did not join any other club; my grades were only a little above average, too.
It was an identity crisis that I did not have time to prepare for. In truth, I made up a few excuses for months to avoid going to school because of that. I felt like drowning in my mental health worries, and I could hardly come up for air.
My mother eventually caught up in my alibis. I thought that she would ground me for life due to how much she scolded me that day, but she ended up hugging and crying with me. She said, “I disagree with your methods, but I understand why you’ve done what you did. I just wish you have told me about it early.”
This revelation did me more good than I could ever imagine. It allowed me to see how I could keep my mental health intact despite having scoliosis.
Stop Thinking Negatively
The first thing I did was recalibrate my brain. The diagnosis caused me to think about everything negatively. For instance, when I was no longer a cheerleader, I assumed that no one would know me or want to get to know me. Whenever my friends offered their help, I thought that they were doing it out of pity.
Instead of thinking like that, I tried to tell myself that I could still be known for other things, such as academics and other sports. I also pushed away the feeling of helplessness that always lurked inside me and welcomed my loved ones’ help. I figured that if it happened to them, I would have done the same because we all loved each other.
Work Around The Illness
When I got diagnosed with scoliosis, I honestly thought that I could never do any physical activity again. As my friend mentioned above, my spine curved like a snake, and they were correct. In my mind, it meant that I could not be a part of a human pyramid anymore and that I would have to watch my diet now because exercising was out of the picture.
However, during one of my checkups, the doctor noticed my weight gain due to stress eating, and he wasn’t happy about it. The reason was that my spinal curvature might worsen if I had more fats than muscles in my body. He suggested doing core exercises that would not require me to be on my feet.
I must say it was a tough challenge at first, considering I was too scared to hurt my back further. Over time, though, I learned how to work around the illness and strengthen my body.
Try Not To Disobey The Doctor’s Orders
It also helped that I talked to the doctor before I tried anything. Aside from medication, they gave me an idea of how to live to the max, even if I might need to deal with scoliosis for a long while. They even had previous scoliosis patients willing to talk to new patients like me and practically inform us that the diagnosis won’t alter our lives if we didn’t allow it.
I was in emotional limbo for six whole months. I regretted letting that happen to me, but I could only move forward and try to make the most of everything.
Hopefully, you find enlightenment during your darkest moments, too. Good luck!
When someone in the family suffers from a spinal cord injury or SCI, the news can feel overwhelming to the whole family, and feelings of helplessness, depression, and overall sadness can arise. Unexpectedly, a loved one who has been diagnosed of SCI can evoke a gamut of emotions for a lot of people, including worry about the future, the level of disability that the family member has sustained, and just how the whole family is going to deal with their loved one’s injury and his life. Nothing can ever prepare us for the effects of spinal cord injury.
Feeling miserable during this time is a naturally acceptable feeling any time since the injury happened, even the period of rehabilitation or when the loved one has left the hospital to try to cope at home. Not everyone feels the same, though, and there is no wrong or right way to feel.
From the time of injury, the family may feel that nothing is going to be the same again. With time, reassurance, and guidance from the medical health professional team as well as the loved one’s family, life could again be lived with meaning. In fact, oftentimes, relationships are strengthened, and bonds get deeper. Perhaps this is because the SCI patient is most often at home. Thus he has more time spent with the family with the opportunity to develop deeper relationships with their spouse, child, or other family members, for that matter. This may be something that he previously did not do before he suffered the injury.
The Family’s Challenges
After a spinal cord injury, the whole family would have to make the necessary adjustments. This will also depend on the level of injury that the loved one has sustained. As mentioned, the family’s relationship with the SCI loved one may change too, and he or she may be staying in the hospital only for a while to recuperate at home, or maybe hospitalized for a longer period. If it is the latter, then emotions such as a yearning for physical and emotional intimacy, stress, thoughts of retirement and the future, and other things that were part of the loved one’s life with his family before the injury. There are some days when you feel hopeful and optimistic about your loved one’s prognosis and rehabilitation. Other days, though, may feel challenging, tiring, and depressing for both the patient and the family.
The SCI patient also faces a myriad of challenges, as he is the most affected of all. His activities will now have to be managed differently, and the whole family, including the patient himself, must work together to learn and find ways to adapt to the different aspects of the patient’s life. As the patient undergoes rehabilitation, he may be able to come home to his family for a few days. This often inspires the patient to cooperate with his treatment and get better, making it easier for him to shift move from hospital to home.
All of us feel strained at some point in our lives, and we all try to manage it in our ways. The increase or decrease in our adrenaline levels influences how stress affects us mentally and physically. Physically, people may manifest symptoms like dry mouth, lack of sleep, headaches, mood swings, muscle weakness, and anxiety, among others. Your close friends would ask you if you are fine and if you’re coping well, but these questions may not be easy to answer. Some patients are stronger and more resilient, while others have weaker spirits and are more difficult to encourage.
We can’t always control the outside sources of stress, but how we feel and act during these times will impact the way SCI patients and their families will cope with the problems that may confront them. One simple way to help deal with stress is to imagine yourself in a certain situation that might cause you stress and then imagine what you can do to change the situation and be able to resolve it. It could also help if you list the things that you prioritize and do what needs to be done first – and do it head-on.
Help And Support
Support for the family and the SCI patient is available for dealing with emotions such as stress, depression, sadness, and others. A doctor must be consulted if these feelings do not go away for quite some time. Additionally, most spinal facilities have a psychologist or counselor who is capable of providing professional emotional support and guidance. Seeking emotional help is not a mistake at all, especially during a challenging time, like having someone from the family diagnosed with spinal cord injury. When a loved one in the family suffers from SCI, it does take time to take it all in. This starts from when the information is disclosed to the patient and then to the family, making wise decisions about the loved one’s treatment and rehabilitation, and adapting to the changes caused by the injury. Nothing is easy, and asking help for dealing with the emotional journey is acceptable.
Scoliosis differs from one person to another. It can be a bunch of things altogether. It can be a medical condition that an individual had in his whole life or can be posturally induced. People with scoliosis can have a C or S curve, and these types get to be evaluated by a licensed physical therapist.
In this pandemic crisis, since many individuals with scoliosis face different physical challenges, working on some exercises can be beneficial for their health. But disclaimer: these exercises are for self-development purposes only. It does not cure or treat scoliosis, especially the ones with severe conditions. So before anyone tries these physical activities, please consult a medical health professional first.
Side Lean – It is an advisable exercise for people with scoliosis because it is easy and comfortable. An individual can start by putting his body in a good stance position, and hold a weight on one side of his hand. From there, he’s just going to lean over on the side and then come back up. But note, the goal is not to entirely lean forward or twist the body exaggeratedly.
Bridging – It is a type of exercise that is super easy and comfortable to do. It helps in strengthening the core, the pelvis, as well as the back muscles. With bridging, the body lies down on a flat surface while propping the knee. The arms are positioned on the sides, touching the ground. Then the back gets pushed up and down, putting the whole body into a slant position. The exercise ensures an individual to have control over his movement. Shoulders are not coming off the floor, but the entire body is. An individual can go for one segment at a time.
Bird-Dog Exercise – It is one of the most challenging exercises for individuals with scoliosis. Not only it’s a bit uncomfortable, but also some might find it hard to put their bodies in a neutral position. In this exercise, the body is positioned in a chair-like state where an individual should keep the back flat and neutral. From there, the arm and opposite leg are stretched out alternately. It is important to note that it is unnecessary to twist the whole body when doing this.
Side Crunch – For some individuals struggling with a severe scoliosis condition, they do not have to come to a full sit-up. That is to prevent the cause of some back issues. Side crunch is an exercise that can become a little uncomfortable to do. That is why some people like to put their hands at the back of their heads to support their neck while others try to place it crossing in their chest. The position requires the body to lie down. An individual attempted to pull up the upper body towards a couple of inches and then crunch from side to side.
Side Plank – So, with the side plank, the body is placed in a slant position using one side of the body. It should use the elbow, supported by the shoulder, as a stand to align the body. It might feel a little complicated, and there might be some discomfort in doing this. But that is okay. The feeling of the hips collapsing is what makes the exercise effective. So for individuals with scoliosis, it is vital to note that a 10-second hold is more than enough at first. There is no need to go for long minutes. So don’t try and force it to avoid ending up being in pain.
Depending on how severe the scoliosis condition, these exercises might be a little tough to do. Thus, if an individual wants to work on this, he should consult his physical therapist for a modification.
Living life with scoliosis is complicated. And now that there’s a pandemic, well, it seems like it is all the same. I am not saying that I need to complain about it. But individuals like me who suffer from chronic conditions are less likely to feel anxious about the whole situation. For all I know, I cannot already do things I want because of my scoliosis. Therefore, what else do I have to worry about?
Should I worry About My Social Life?
Some people assume that because one is suffering from a chronic condition, they are incapable of social interaction. Well, that is entirely not true. Individuals with scoliosis like me may have a different physical appearance from others, but we are capable of communicating and interacting socially. Though I must say, we can become a topic of judgment and humiliation at some point due to our spinal “deformity.” But in the state of social communication during this COVID-19 pandemic, I say all are good. Yes, we can’t go to school and hang out with our friends due to the lockdown. But that is okay. We are still connecting with them through social media platforms, and that’s pretty much the best of what we can do.
Should I Worry About Isolation?
No, of course not. I know there are some individuals out there with scoliosis that already suffered enough from isolation. Not that it is a good thing, though. But the point is, the whole lockdown thing is not going to make individuals like me more worried than ever. Some of us perhaps mastered the art of not interacting with any people. Some of us have this idea that it will be useless to participate in any activities because it might cost us our lives. Honestly, I can say that most of us consider isolation as a way to prevent ourselves from harm. Since the severity of our conditions differs from one another, I am sure there are individuals like me with scoliosis who appreciate isolation more than anything else. Isolation is not that bad, as a therapist from BetterHelp explains.
Should I Worry About My Health?
Well, that is one thing. For those mild conditions of scoliosis, one can shrug the idea of dying. Perhaps some of us think that a spinal curve can cause no harm. However, in some instances, scoliosis can cause severe health complications. These may include broken rib cages, as well as lung and heart damages. That is because severe cases of scoliosis can make the ribs press against the lung and heart. When that befalls, there is a tendency that an individual will have difficulty breathing, and it will more likely make his heart unable to pump blood. And with COVID-19, this particular condition of a person with scoliosis is at stake. That is because weak lungs and heart are what makes this virus stronger. Somehow, that particular information creates worries.
Should I Worry About What I Do?
Honestly, there is nothing to worry about the things that I should do. Of all people in the world who require themselves to have a better immune system, I know exactly why I need it. Living with scoliosis has its limitations. Frankly, I understand the risk. For people like me who suffer from the condition, we know that our priority right now is to take care of ourselves and be healthy. We do not need to remind ourselves of the importance of eating nutritional food because that is where we get our strength. We do not force ourselves to get into physical activities in an instant because we know it can be dangerous. We do not let ourselves get overwhelmed with accomplishing the small task in the house because we know it triggers our progressions.
Scoliosis is a disease that affects the spinal cord, forming an S or C shaped curvature. The disease can cause the victim severe discomfort, chronic pain, and is fatal in extreme cases. Fortunately, scoliosis patients usually suffer only from minor versions of the illness. There are many ways to deal with scoliosis, which include invasive methods, such as surgery and bracing, and non-invasive methods, such as exercise and diet restriction. Exercise, in particular, has proven to be beneficial in relieving pain caused by scoliosis. Moreover, some exercise techniques are believed to lessen the degree of the curve and improve the patient’s condition overall. Here are 5 of the best physical workouts to combat the disease. Before trying any of these workouts, however, be sure to consult with your physician or an experienced professional.