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I use a massage hook that I got on amazon for like $30 - it might seem a little pricey for a knobby piece of rigid plastic but it’s SO worth it. I got this theracane but you could do a search for massage hook and see other options.
This is the only thing that helps me get deep enough pressure to relieve some of the knots. I got one for my father in law and he loves it too. Seriously a life saver!
I've been unable to find stretches or yoga that helps reduce my pain, (I have more shoulder and lower left back pain than anything else) but I know it helps a lot of other people with pain management, so I'd definitely give the other commentor's suggestions a try.
This isn't exactly what you're asking for- but if you're looking for things to try alongside stretches and exercises, I'd strongly suggest a Theracane (This is the one I own, but there's several versions) and/or any massage ball. As long as you can push through the pain of working on the muscles yourself, I use these on a daily basis and they have been the best and most inexpensive additions to my pain management routine. I know this isn't what you posted looking for, but I just like to share these with anybody looking for pain management options because they have been life savers for me.
Good luck! :)
Sometimes I use a theracane for my jaw. I've found great masseuses at massage envy that know how to massage tmj. I'd call around and ask if they have anyone that specializes in tmj/headache.
You could also pick up one of these in the meantime, they're actually pretty awesome. We have 2 at work and I use it all the time haha
I have back issues and my roomie is a massage therapist so she has a great concoction of two tennis balls in a sock.
She also has one of these: [link]
The tennis ball is more versatile. You can also use it on your feet, your sciatic, top of the hamstring, your calves, you name it!
I have a very similar product called the theracane, and I swear by it. Does wonders for those otherwise-hard-to-massage-yourself shoulder pains. Not sure I'd take it to work, though. It does look very NSFW...
This one? [link]
I work at a desk 40hrs a week and could use something to work out knots. I have a lacrosse ball but would this cane be better?
Ah, that reminds me! I also swear by the Theracane (link: [link]) for hitting tough spots (especially on the lower back) that the foam roller isn't precise enough for. I dig the Theracane as I can do it while I'm sitting watching TV or can take it to work with me if I have to work on a knot a couple of times a day. The foam roller is good for the lower back if you lay on it on your side, but for some reason I'm just sketching about rolling my exposed spine with no large muscles encapsulating the area like there is in my upper back.
Glad to help!! :]
I have tried to use a Theracane. It seems like a good product, but I found it didn't really work well for me. (It's in need of a new home if you want to try it and would be ok with pm'ing a mailing address to a stranger.)
The trigger points that I think were contributing to the bulging disc problem weren't actually located at that disc. Part of why I think the tensegrity model of the spine is helpful is that it demonstrates how an issue in a distant part of the structure can disrupt the distribution of forces and cause problems elsewhere.
It's frequently the case with trigger points that the place you experience the pain isn't the same place as the trigger point itself. For instance, a joint may hurt when the actual problem is a trigger point in a muscle a way off that pulls on a tendon that torques on the joint. There are maps of these referral patterns (which is part of why the book is helpful), and when you put pressure on an active trigger point you can definitely tell that you've found it, but it takes a bit of trial and error.
I should mention that while just pressing on the point itself feels intense and can be cathartic, it isn't the way to reset them. The technique described in the book is to repeatedly and slowly moving pressure across the point in the direction of the muscle fiber (again, having the maps helps for this). This is part of the problem with things like the Theracane: you can poke around and apply pressure on a point just fine, but moving slowly across it while applying pressure doesn't work so well. I find that the technique where you put a ball in a sock behind your back and press against a wall works better for me.
Did a literature search, and there is some association between Ehlers-Danlos and scoliosis it seems, but it's thin, and it would still be hard not to call yours "idiopathic". There are, like, 8 types, and I don't know much between any of them at this point. Lots of people have lax ligaments and no scoliosis, and lots of people have scoliosis with strong ligaments. That said, it puts you at a further kinetic disadvantage.
Get a new doctor. Healthcare is still (allegedly) private in this country. That means if you don't like your customer service there'll be another doctor that would be more than happy to do what it takes to earn your money (especially now, and it's only going to get worse, but that's another subject).
So, like, pretty much the last thing you have left to hold yourself together with good posture and limited pain is your muscles. That's important.
What you need are as follows:
A diagnosis or not for your fatigue/stretchy ligaments, whether it's Ehlers-Danlos or not.
A world-class physical therapist that knows both spine stabilization and PT in hypermobility syndromes. You'll need an academic center. Not many PTs are qualified.
A specialized regimen of working out. Muscle stability, strength, and balance. That's kind of your best bet for being fitter and having less pain.
Oh, and THIS for the knots in your neck and shoulders. Is awesome.
Everyone's tolerance for touch is different, and yes, I have a few clients who I only do area-specific touch on and I even use a t-bar or massage tool sometimes because they are so averse to the touch. There is nothing wrong with this at all- it's your body and you should decide how it should be touched, and the therapy it deserves. If you're on edge, the endorphin releases aren't going to happen, your muscles will be tense and impossible to release, and you're going to be worse off than when you started!
try a theracane. I have one of these and I love it. I know it looks kindof like a torture/sex device, but it's not- it's fantastic! Best of all, you can do it in your skivvies on the couch watching Conan and eating cheetos, no other parties involved (since you're not getting much from the human touch portion).
Hey- I actually talked to you a couple months ago on another post you made here. I hope some of my pain management suggestions have helped, but I know it can be really rough surviving the pain as you're trying to figure out how to manage it. As the other commenter said, if you want to use a cane, use a cane. You may get odd looks, but that's their problem for judging someone off of a first glance.
This is what frustrates me the most about an invisible illness; if all your hair was falling out or you were already bald due to Chemo treatment and Cancer, nobody would EVER second-guess your necessity for a cane. Even if you were in a wheelchair, nobody would care, because they see the physical representation of the thing you're struggling with. They'll open doors for you, grab you a snack, push your wheelchair because they can actually see what you're struggling with, in a sense. I'm not saying this is a bad thing; people struggling with something as serious as cancer need all the help they can get and I'm not trying to flame people that are kind enough to help out, I'm just trying to point out the difference between someone that has a more visible illness, and someone that has a more hidden, invisible illness. Since Scoliosis is mostly invisible, and someone doesn't notice it at first glance, suddenly you're perceived as a fake just looking for attention, when in reality, you're dealing with your own struggles as well. Just because your condition isn't visible at a first glance doesn't make it invalid. I carry around a Theracane literally everywhere I go; it's not quite as obvious as using an actual cane (since it's intended function is to stop muscle spasms and pain, not to help you walk) but I still get weird looks. It doesn't matter, because carrying that thing with me and having that pain management option available at any time makes it easier for me to go places. People definitely get annoyed and curious at a 19 year old carrying around some weird massage tool, but they get over it. The important thing is that it helps me.
Don't let people's wrongful judgement of a condition they know nothing about effect your life. If a cane is gonna help you, for gods sake, grab yourself a cane and parade it out in front of everybody. Do what helps you, and don't avoid it just because it may make some people uncomfortable or annoyed.
Sorry, that was a bit of a rant, but I hope it helps ;P
I bought a theracane. Easier to hold and angle, and hits the spot. Check it out!
Hey! I have a suggestion.
Look at the Purple Lumbar Pillow. I use this thing at night, in the car, in restaurants... It's freakin' amazing. That should hopefully help with the lumbar issue, but as for neck stuff I've had trouble finding portable solutions that also work in chairs. I personally use the Theracane as a portable neck rest while I'm out and about, but it's not necessarily good for hours on end. Only thing I can suggest is the Purple Harmony pillow- I use it at night in bed, and it's helped my neck pain tremendously, although I'm not sure how useful it would be in a recliner.
If you're interested, I go into a lot more detail about all of these things in #5, #15, and #19 suggestions in my big pain management post.
Hopefully this helps, and please don't hesitate to ask any questions. I can only fit so much into a post and a quick comment, so if there's something specific you have a question about, or something I didn't talk about enough, please ask. I'll do my best to answer :)
I had a period of about 3 months about 6 years ago where I couldn't use a computer at all. I could barely open the fridge when it first started. I was lucky that I lived with my family in the country at the time but I would go for long walks and just site by the water. I would regularly do stretches on my neck and wrists, go to physiotherapy, massage therapy, and accupuncture (despite a fear of needles). It was all very scary and I paid about $1500 out of pocket since I wasn't working full-time with benefits at the time.
Here are a few things that really helped me over the course of many months:
I honestly swear by each and every one of the things above. Good luck, I wish you well.
A Theracane massager.
Hi, I've been suffering from Scoliosis pain myself for 4 years now, and I think I can help.
I spent all day every day for a week making this post to share my experience and information regarding my Scoliosis journey, and how I achieved manageable pain. As you can probably see, it has a lot of information, and it should hopefully help point your girlfriend in the right direction. I think it could also be helpful to you to read as well; I was put into a situation where I couldn't really rely on doctors because they thought I was faking my pain, so I was sort of in a similar mindset for a while that I just had to take care of myself and suffer in silence. Admittedly I don't talk about that a whole lot in the post (It was getting kind of long... ;P), but I think reading my story would be helpful to both you and your girlfriend anyway.
But, to get back on topic; the post should answer a lot of your questions. There's a lot of suggestions on how to find treatment that works for you on your own, what pain management techniques I use, and even down to what pillows I use and how I use them to sleep in a beneficial position.
And holy crap, this is the first time I've ever seen someone else with a Theracane before I suggested it! It's super uncommon to see anyone with one of these things. I'm not sure if this is the exact same one, but this is the one I use. I talk about it a lot in my post, along with massage ball and how I use them- they're amazing tools if you're willing to endure some pain to use them. It sounds like you've already got a decent amount of the products/equipment I suggest, but there's definitely a few more in my post that I think could be helpful.
Good on you for doing the research though! Scoliosis is difficult to treat and stay on top of, so sometimes you need a bit of a push- I know I did. Definitely encourage her to get x-rays and keep an eye on the curvatures. I'm not sure how old she is, but in the preteen/teenage years it has a tendency to progress more, and while it can progress at other times, those are the most dangerous times for Scoliosis. Even if she's past her preteen/teenage years, it's a good idea to get x-rays semi-regularly just to make absolutely sure it's not progressing. This stuff can be difficult mentally(Trust me, I know.) but it's extremely important to catch the Scoliosis if it starts progressing again. If she doesn't stay on top of it and it randomly decides to start progressing again, that is something that will negatively impact her for the rest of her life. If she can struggle through the mental obstacle of seeing a doctor, that is probably one of the most important things to do right now if it hasn't been checked up on in a few years.
I hope this helps, and please don't hesitate to ask any questions. I try to keep my comments short and sweet so they're easier to get through, and if you want more info I leave a lot of that to the post I linked, but it's impossible to answer everything. Seriously, if you have any questions, or want more info on something I haven't mentioned, or even if she has any questions, please don't hesitate to ask.
Good luck :)
But, uh, to get back on topic; both the massage ball and the Theracane have their pros and cons, and I use both extremely often and I don’t think either one is better than the other, but I suggest trying the massage ball and see if it works for you first, and if it does, I would then strongly recommend a Theracane. The one I use is more expensive than most, but it's extremely durable and exactly what I need. I feel like the other crazy looking ones seem too impractical and gimmicky to me, I don't even use all the few of the nubs on my green one, and I highly doubt I'd make any use of a second curve and about a dozen more nubs and spheres. Besides, having a crazy looking one would make it much less practical on the go, which would mean I don't get to show off to random people at Hobby Lobby as much. But I may be missing out on some benefits of the weirder ones, that's for you to decide. If you're looking additional portable pain relief/support, take a look at the Purple Back Cushion I talk about further down in this post.
To preface this, the next couple of items on this list have something in common that should be addressed; regardless if you’re seeing a Chiropractor, massage therapist, surgeon, or even a doctor, you need a medical professionals that listen to YOU and can adapt their methods to your needs. Any medical professional gets stuck in the normal grind of job; they’ll get 50 people with normal easy-to-fix problems for every 1 person with a unique problem like Scoliosis. The key here is finding someone that understands Scoliosis is very unique, no matter how severe it is, and they are willing to adapt and change their approach from what they’re normally doing. Sticking to what their “normal treatment” is and hardly exploring out of that normalcy is what I call “Cookie-cutter” treatment. If you’re seeing any medical professional that seemingly disregards and ignores your complaints and the uniqueness of your situation for no reason, and just goes about their normal “cookie-cutter” routine, you probably need to look elsewhere for treatment. It is always a good idea to try several people in their field- whatever field it may be- to get an idea of what you should be looking for. Sticking to the first person you have an appointment with out of loyalty may work, but you could be one appointment away from finding someone that can treat you in a different and better way. As always, do your own research, make sure the people you are seeing are qualified and have good reputations, and be safe.
#7 Chiropracting. Chiropractors are expensive, and granted I don't get an adjustment often, but it definitely helps once every couple of months, and I have a lot of family that religiously get adjusted and live by it. While I’m not that crazy about it, I think it has its benefits. For me, getting adjusted helps relieve some tension on the muscles which makes my pain easier to manage, and my Chiropractor has a few unique treatments under his belt, like graston and some different massage therapy skills that also help. He also made great recommendations like psychosomatic pain therapy, massage ball, and a massage gun.
It’s hard to prove that Chiropractic treatment works, simply because it doesn’t work for everybody. This goes back to what I talked about earlier; Scoliosis causes different symptoms for different people, and different treatments will affect different people in different ways. Regarding this, Chiropractic seems to have an even larger and more defined divide between people that love it and people that severely distrust it than most forms of treatment- it's a very controversial topic and treatment. There are legitimate reasons why people are skeptical of Chiropractic and why they think it can be dangerous; the practitioner is physically manipulating the body in a way that can be harmful if done incorrectly, it also has very inconsistent results in comparison to other treatments; some people live and die by Chiropractic, and others can’t feel it’s made any difference. In addition to that, there is a lot of really bad Chiropractors out there and trying to find the right one can be challenging.
Finding a good Chiropractor is much like finding a good massage therapist- you have to find someone that is willing to get out of their “normal routine” to find something that will work for you specifically. Be extremely careful of Chiropractors that seemingly ignore and disregard your specific issues and concerns in favor of their normal routine, or what “works for everyone,” or what they “normally do.” What “works for everyone” shouldn’t be forced on you. As you can probably imagine, it’s not always a good idea for a Chiropractor to force someone with Scoliosis to try to do something that works specifically for people with straight spine. Surprise! In case you weren’t aware, your spine can’t bend in all the normal ways it would normally be able to, and trying to force it to bend in ways it shouldn’t can be dangerous. At least, that’s my basic understanding of it. Sometimes what works for everybody will work for you though; the point I’m trying to make is just be sure they’re not forcing you to do something for only the sake of their convenience, while ignoring the uniqueness of the condition they’re trying to treat. You’ve got a unique spine, and it should be treated with special care, and not just whatever is most convenient for the practitioner at the time.
When looking for a Chiropractor, be cautious and make sure you do research into the people you want to try, and make sure they are reputable and have not hurt anyone. When you’ve found one you’d like to try, make your concerns known to any Chiropractors you’re considering, and make sure they are respectful of your boundaries. Most good Chiropractors understand their career is frowned upon by a significant number of people, and they will do their best to make you feel comfortable and explain why and how they are going to do things. In my opinion, Chiropractic is an extremely useful and beneficial treatment for some people, and for me it was worth the time and risk to find a good Chiropractor. The benefits of a quick 15-minute adjustment every couple of months that just makes it a little easier to keep up with pain management made it worthwhile in the long run going through the trouble of finding a good Chiropractor. Just keep in mind, Chiropractic is easy to fake and scam people with, and potentially dangerous depending if the person takes you seriously and knows what they are doing or not. The skepticism a lot of people have regarding Chiropractic is understandable and warranted, and it should not be disregarded or taken lightly. Be careful who you choose and be safe.
Only try Chiropractic if you feel comfortable doing so. If you decide to try it, try a few different people, give it a few chances to see if it works for you, and use your best judgement.
#8 Massages/Massage Therapist. I will not be the first to say massages are expensive- mine are about $75 dollars for an hour session- but man do they help so much. You can do a lot with a Theracane and massage ball, but there is simply no replacement for the real deal. I have a specific massage therapist that I've been going to once a week for about 2 years now, and she introduced me to the Tennis ball/Massage ball, the Theracane, Yoga, and psychosomatic pain therapy*.* I seriously do not know where I'd be without my masseuse, but the big thing here is to find the right masseuse, just like finding the right Chiropractor. Fortunately, since I have a lot more experience with massage therapy than Chiropractic, I can be more specific with “what to look for” in a massage therapist.
You can't really just go into a random salon and get a good massage for Scoliosis pain. They may be able to give you a massage, you may feel really good for a little while afterwards, but that pain is going to come right back. These are what I like to call “feel-good massages;” they are gentle and relaxing, and afterwards you will see some benefits, but it wears off by the next day. At least, for me. Just like every practitioner, you’re going to have to find someone that is willing to fit to your needs.
One of the most important things to find in a massage therapist is willingness to break out of their normal routine, just like a Chiropractor. This is what I mean by that in this case: most massage therapists are used to working on people with normal backs, and they are used to the certain things that can wrong within the boundaries of a normal back. Because of this they are used to doing relatively the exact same thing for the majority of people, with slight changes like working on a specific tight muscle or two depending on the person and situation.
This continues in PART 7.
Spasms in this scenario begin with a similar feeling to a “charlie horse” or a cramp. You’ll feel your muscle getting tighter and tighter rather quickly regardless of how much you work on it- as soon as you feel one of these coming on, stop massaging it immediately. Massaging it in this case will likely do nothing more than encourage the spasm to start- your muscle has decided that it’s going to rebel against the “abuse” you’re committing, all you can do is let it cool off and come back at it later. Personally, I’ve only ever caused one spasm while working with the massage ball, so I don’t have much experience in stopping a spasm. But with the experience I do have, stretching the muscle out so it has trouble contracting and spasming helps me the most, and I’d suggest laying down or relaxing for a bit if this happens. Just give it a break for a little bit and try to not use that muscle too much or just do whatever works for you to stop spasms.
Lastly, stick to working on muscles, and avoid bones as much as you can. There’s some muscles that require you to rub up or put pressure on bones (Like the ones on the sides of your ribcage) which is okay for a limited period of time, but similar to the overworking muscles, you can overwork and pinch the skin when you work on or around bones and cause bruising. You’ll probably accidentally bruise yourself a couple of times before you figure it out- but that’s just part of the learning process. Use your best judgement, and experiment with it.
Please don’t be scared of this though- I’m mostly mentioning these side affects so that you don’t rush blindly and hurt yourself. Just be mindful about the pain you’re enduring, you’ll do perfectly fine.
After you’ve finished, you should probably leave your back alone, relax on the couch for a few minutes and let it recuperate, and take a minute to recover from the intense pain. When I started out with this, I did it about 3 times a day at most, 5-minute sessions or so, and not much more- this can be rough on your muscles if you are not used to it. In the beginning, it’s easier to accidentally over-work your back with how much new pressure and pain you're putting it through, so just keep in mind you’ll probably mess up a few times as you get used to this, and use your best judgement to try to avoid that. You’re trading more pain now for less pain later, and for me the more pressure I can put onto a muscle and the longer I can work on it, directly corresponds to longer and better pain relief. I get what I put in- if I only work on my muscle lightly, I’m only going to feel very little relief. If you need to go easy on yourself at first to get used to it that’s fine, just keep in mind- at least in my experience- you most likely won’t see much results until you start putting in the work.
Once you feel comfortable doing this against the wall, and it's not hurting quite as much anymore, you can transition to doing the exact same thing on carpeted floor or a yoga mat for more pressure, and you can start doing it a little more often and for longer, depending on how much your muscles can endure before they start getting overworked. Once that starts getting less painful and you're getting more comfortable with the floor, you can switch to an official, harder Massage ball*.* I use two different massage balls; a smaller one which is my favorite for general every-day use, and a larger one to with less applications, but it can get at those larger muscle groups, and it's useful when you need a larger ball to get to spots the smaller one has trouble getting to(like the muscles on the side of the ribcage, or in the armpit area). As a side note, I usually put a spare sock on the smaller one because the texture of it irritates my skin, and it also dulls the noise it makes when I drop it later in the night. But you can pick whatever massage balls really, that's just what I use. At this point you can be pretty flexible with how often you do this each day, and for how long. Personally, I use the massage ball once a day for 20-40 minutes each night before I go to bed, and as needed throughout the day, but that’s just what works for me. Keep in mind, working on your muscles with this is a daily activity- I have found more improvement if I am trying to keep my muscles loose by consistently working on them. It is frustratingly annoying, painful, and time consuming, but it’s worth every bit of inconvenience for the pain relief I get from it. Also, using a tennis ball/massage ball after a hot shower is a great combination. Your muscles are already relaxed, so you can make more progress quicker with less pain.
Keep in mind once again, everyone is different. Like I’ve said, my muscles in particular respond best to being aggressively forced to relax. This is why the Theracane(next item on the list), massage ball, and my aggressive massage therapist work so well for me. Both my massage therapist and I are not afraid to cause uncomfortable feelings and “good” pain if it means I’ll have more pain relief in the long run. You might be the same as me, or you might have better results from softer and gentler sessions with a massage ball. Experiment, and find what works for you; do not limit yourself to just what has worked for me.
#6 Theracane! Sounds like something a 70-year-old-grandmother bought when she saw it in one of those cheesy info commercials that now sits in the attic collecting dust. While it could be argued I feel like a 70-year-old-grandmother on certain occasions, I can say with confidence I don’t watch enough TV to have seen this in a commercial, and it has never collected dust. This is extremely similar and basically a hybrid version of the Tennis Ball/Massage ball technique, so you still want to be mindful of overworking muscles, spasms, and bruising with bones in the same way I talked about above. While the massage ball excels at normal sized muscle groups and working entire sections of muscle, the Theracane has a smaller, more accurate head specifically for knots and working on extremely specific points of pain, and it can get to literally every muscle on the body without having to contort yourself in awkward positions. I carry this thing around with me literally all the time because it's so much easier and portable to use than a massage ball (since it doesn’t require a wall or floor to use), and much better for on-the-go pain relief. In combination with the pain relief from a lot of the other suggestions I have listed, this tool makes it so much easier and safer to go and stay places for longer without worrying about my pain getting out of hand. If I have to sit in an uncomfortable chair, stand for a long time, or anything else that causes my back to get angry, instead of being forced to head home to do my at-home pain relief stuff, and as long as I’ve been consistently keeping up with pain management, I can just work on exactly whatever is bothering me right then and there with the Theracane. I wont lie though- I do get a lot of odd looks and some questions carrying this odd looking cane around, but the pain relief is worth it all.
In addition to the amazing benefits of portable pain relief, it’s irregular shape also has few additional benefits for on-the-go; if you hang it off of the back of your neck, and then use the longer end as leverage by simply laying your arm on it, it’s a fantastic portable neck support device. You can hook it under one of your legs while you’re sitting, and use the long end as a temporary stand for a phone or a book so you’re not killing your neck by looking down at it instead. I also use it as an armrest when I can make it work with the environment around me. These strategies earn me even more strange looks, but they’re just jealous because I get to relax and rest my neck on something while they have to stand there just imagining the relaxation I’m enjoying. Take THAT, random guy condescendingly glancing at me while buying discounted Megabloks for his kids at Hobby Lobby!
This continues in PART 6.
Hey! So I've never really been a fan of back massagers. They seemed more gimmicky than actually useful to me for a long time. However, at the start of quarantine I had to get creative and try new things to make up for the lost massage appointments, so I ended up getting a Hypervolt plus along with a Hypersphere in order to help manage pain. I got mine before they switched to this new bluetooth thing, but it's basically the same.
The Hypervolt fixed the biggest issue for me that I had with massage guns- before, I had never been able to put enough weight on a massage gun because the gun wouldn't be able to keep up, the Hypervolt keeps going regardless of how much weight I put on it. It also has a "pointed" tip, which was a massive plus for me.
Personally, I used it a bunch when I first got it, but I don't use it much anymore. This is partly because I don't usually have somebody to use it on me, so I'm contorted in weird positions in order to get the spot I want it in, so I've ended up using it more on my mother than I have myself. I still think it can be useful for things like your feet and your neck that are hard to work on, and my mom absolutely loves it, but otherwise even with how great this massage gun is, it's not the best pain management tool I use.
The Hypersphere I used maybe two or three times seriously, but my house is old and having to use it on the old wooden floor disturbs literally everyone in the house, and maybe even the next-door neighbors. Despite how loud it is on hardwood, the few times I used it, I couldn't find any noticeable differences in pain relief from a $10 massage ball. I kept it anyways because once I get into a new house I imagine I'll use it more for more specific muscle pain I have, but for now it sits on the shelf collecting dust in favor of my other pain management tools.
I would suggest if you're looking for something that has the same end result as a massage gun, look into a Theracane. The Theracane has been life changing for me (Literally.) and made my life so much easier. I go into detail about it here, where I also talk about massage balls and compare them both to eachother and a massage gun.
Take into account though everybody's scoliosis is different. It sounds like you mostly have leg pain than anything else- in that case, it may be very beneficial to have something like the Hypervolt or Hypersphere where the tool does the work naturally for you, instead of something like a manual massage ball or Theracane that'll be more difficult to physically manipulate to get at the leg muscles. For me, the Theracane and massage balls are godsends because 99% of my pain is my back muscles, and they're really good at getting at those muscles, but it may be a totally different situation for you if the pain is in your legs. If you're interested in other forms of pain management, I have a few suggestions here.
Despite how this subreddit is normally against it, I think Chiropractic is a good choice if you're with the right person. An extension of Chiropractic that I've tried is this new treatment called Scolismart. A lot of people around here are rightfully skeptical about it, it's a new unproven and sketchy treatment, but I saw minor improvements through the 2 week boot camp and other treatments I've done through them. After I attended, I made a post about my experience and what to expect, and I also talked with a lot people in the comments with valuable information. Do your own research and decide if it's an option for you, it is definitely less effective for older patients like us that are past our growing spurts, but if you're comfortable with Chiropractic it's not too far off from what you're already doing.
If you have any questions or need to talk, don't hesitate to pm me. I'm not sure exactly what kind of pain you're experiencing, but I try to help as much as I can.
I'm glad I could help! Exercise equipment has done wonders from what I've heard- and I have a massage gun as well. I'd like to get into doing that exercise stuff myself, but I'm trying to add stuff to my pain management routine a little at a time so I can pinpoint what makes the biggest improvements for me.
Yes, the green one is the one I prefer(Here's the link again if you need it), but it's honestly the only one I've ever used. It's more expensive than the other ones, but it's very durable, and worth every penny. The ones with the double hooks and dozens of little bumps and nubs on them seem extreme and gimmicky to me. I've really only needed what the green has in my opinion- and the shape of the green one allows you to put a lot more weight and pressure into the tool than the oddly shaped ones would. It's also much more convenient to carry around in public- any version of the Theracane is weird looking and grabs peoples attention in public, but the one I use is much easier to conceal, and it balances itself if you hang it on the edge of a table or easy to rest on your knee while sitting, which is EXTREMELY convenient for restaurants and such. It also makes for an amazing neck support on the go if you hang the hook around the back of your neck and rest your arm on the longer end of the cane. But, I may just be completely missing out on what the other ones offer, that's for you to decide.
Let me see if I can explain why the Theracane helped me so much:
You know when you've got an itch on your back, and you can't reach it? You can kinda get around it, maybe relieve a little bit of the itch, but you can't completely relieve it without grabbing some random object to itch it with, or having someone else scratch it?
Now imagine you can't describe to another person where exactly this itch is and how to relieve it- it may be underneath a muscle, or tucked somewhere hard to navigate to. Sometimes there's no way to explain to someone how to find the location of itch; you may feel like you know exactly where the itch is, you may feel it on one side of your back, but the cause of the itch may be somewhere else completely. Any object you try to use to relieve this itch isn't sturdy enough or shaped in a convenient way to relieve this itch without contorting yourself in awkward positions, potentially causing other problems, like spasms or tension.
Now imagine instead of an itch, it's muscle pain, tension, a knot that is causing discomfort...
If that makes any sense, congratulations, you now have a basic understanding the daily frustration of trying to deal with muscle pain caused by scoliosis! Or at least, my experience with it.
Ideally, you'd have someone experienced that knows where to look for this discomfort and muscle pain, like a good massage therapist. But unfortunately, not all of us have an experienced massage therapist at our disposal all the time. The Theracane is a temporary replacement for an experienced massage therapist- the perfect tool to experiment, find the causes of the pain yourself, and relieve it if you can't or don't see a massage therapist. Just like a good massage, using the theracane to get at muscles that are causing pain or discomfort will be both painful and uncomfortable. The muscles are causing the pain, and they're not going to stop without a fight. You have to be willing to trade pain- some discomfort and working on the muscles with the theracane now will make the next few hours or days less painful and much more bearable.
A massage gun is kind of a version of the Thercane that has a more general application. You affect more muscles at once with the Massage gun, because of that it's much easier for someone else to use it on you and "accidentally" work on the muscles that are actually causing pain or discomfort- but you can't get pinpoint accuracy or pressure on the muscles that need it most like you can with a Theracane. With the Theracane, you can literally reach any muscle anywhere on your body, investigate, and find the specific muscles that are causing the pain or discomfort. You just have to be willing to work on those painful and uncomfortable and sometimes get them sore to get that relief.
That came out much longer than I intended, but hopefully that explains it effectively.
Alternatively, a massage ball does similar work to a Theracane, but has some defining differences. The Massage ball must be used against a wall or on the floor on a yoga mat or carpet(A Theracane can be used this way, but it isn't required), which makes it more difficult to use on the go. However, you can put more body weight into a ball it and affects larger areas of tension more effectively than a Theracane, with with almost the same accuracy. Theracane is for general pain relief with pin point accuracy for any muscle on-the-go, and the massage ball is for at-home use that is more effective towards larger muscle groups. Both are extremely useful to have, I'd recommend getting both; they're worth every penny.
My massage therapist recommended the Theracane I use, and the massage balls I use: a smaller and very versatile ball, and a bigger ball that has less applications but is extremely useful for even larger muscle groups. However, before you go and buy a heavy duty massage ball like I just linked, I recommend using a tennis ball as a massage ball for a few months beforehand. The real massage balls are very hard and can be rough on somebody that hasn't used one before, so it's smart to start out with a tennis ball that is softer and more forgiving. After you feel like you can use the tennis ball with not much pain or discomfort and it becomes easy, upgrade to the small massage ball I linked, or something similar.
If you want anymore specifics on anything I talked about here, or if you guys need tips and tricks for the Theracane or massage ball, or if either of you guys just need to talk to somebody that has been through similar hoops you guys are having to jump through, don't hesitate to PM me. I don't mind talking and writing out massive blocks of text like this one to explain anything, and I get how it can be frustrating and confusing trying to figure out the best way to manage Scoliosis.
I'm still learning how to treat my muscle pain, and I'm only turning 19 in a couple of days, so take my advice with a grain of salt. I'm not a doctor, just a kid sharing what I've learned through experimentation over the past few years to try to help out :)
Tag, now it's your turn to suffer through my blocks of text! ;P
So our situations aren't the same, but similar. I'm younger than you(18), but my flareup started when I was 14 for no reason. Since then, both my scoliosis/orthopedic specialists along with the physical therapy treatment they recommended have given me no pain relief, and every time I'd see them they'd say "Scoliosis doesnt cause pain." All they could offer me in the end was muscle relaxers and I'm not willing to try any addictive ones, so they had nothing more for me. I get the situation you're in, and even though a slipped disc didnt cause my flareup, I think I can share some experience in trying to manage pain that could help.
Let me say this first though- my pain comes from overworked, overstretched, and tight muscles. If you're suffering from pinched nerves, that's something I have no knowledge in, my recommendations probably wont work, and I'd do some research on that for yourself.
First off, I made a ridiculously long comment a couple of years ago for someone looking for pain relief, and I shared everything that has worked for me so far, so while I'd recommend you read that, I'll highlight a couple of them that are extremely important to me;
A good massage therapist has been a must for me. Finding someone that is not only willing, but takes the initiative to try to investigate where your pain is coming from, experimenting with what muscles they should be focusing on, and working with you constantly to try to help manage pain is HUGE for someone with very unique muscle placement and pain like what scoliosis causes. Finding a Chiropractor that does the same thing is also a good idea, if you're willing to try it. A lot of people are sceptical of massage therapy and chiropracting, and rightfully so, but if you decide to try some out, please do research and make sure you're comfortable and feel safe with the work they're doing on you. If they're good, they'll explain what they're doing and help you understand it, and work with you to find where your problems are. Avoid the chiropractors and massage therapist that do just "feel good" and "cookiecutter" practices. You have scoliosis, your back is unique and different from literally every other person on the planet, and you need people that acknowledge that and change their approach accordingly.
Secondly, a Theracane and a massage ball. They're both easy to use, but just like massage it can be painful. These are for those mornings you've lost the roulette and cant move without being in pain- you use these on those muscles giving you trouble, suffer through the pain to work those muscles to calm down and make the day bearable. It's not an exaggeration to say the Theracane has changed my life. Whereas I was stuck only doing work on my back at home with the massage ball, anytime I had a flareup or a muscle threatening to tighten up and I was away from home, I immediately had to leave and go back home so I could get a handle on it before it got out of control. While the theracane looks really weird and people ask what it is a lot, it's easy to carry around and it has been the only reason I have been able to go out for long periods of time and enjoy being out of the house, even on days I'm in pain, I can keep it from getting worse. My massage therapist helped me learn how to use these, but it's pretty simple; find a muscle or knot that is bothering you, and put pressure on it, move it around, and fidget with it until you feel satisfied. You have to be careful to not overwork the muscles, and you have to figure out the difference between good and productive pain, and just bad pain. I go into more detail about this in the post I linked earlier.
Another thing that could be beneficial to look into is psychosomatic pain, and therapists that treat it. It helped me a lot, but I had been in unceasing pain for 3-4 years and I had substantial proof that some of my pain was psychosomatic. Definitely not something everybody is affected by, but it helped me a lot.
Aside from these things, I've been linking my post about Scolismart for anybody that is interested in looking into new chiropractic based treatment. Theres no solid proof it works yet(I'm not even sure how much it's worked for me yet), but I go into detail in my post and my experience with it so you can decide for yourself if it's a scam, or something you're willing to give a shot for possible curvature improvement and pain relief.
Let me know if you have any questions or if anything I said is confusing and I'll do my best to answer- I'm just an 18 year old kid though, and my experience with scoliosis is going to be different from everyone else's, so take what I say with a grain of salt. I can share everything that has worked for me, but that doesnt mean its guaranteed to work for everybody. Dont hesitate to ask or pm any questions, and good luck :)
Hm, I wonder how that compares to the styrofoam roller for my (what I was told is) myofascial pain syndrome (i.e., apparently related to my fibromyalgia diagnosis, which itself came some years after treating undetected Lyme disease that had become chronic):
It can easily be overdone and make me sore in other ways, but really does allow me to smooth things out gently enough when done properly.
Otherwise, I target areas of knots and myfascial pain very carefully with a TheraCane (which is amazing but far too easy to overdo):
Take a look at romwod.com. I work with a personal trainer who turned me onto this and I have to say it worked wonders in helping out my flexibility, posture, as well as dealing with an old back injury. 6/7 of the weekly routines are 15-20 minutes for the long program and maybe 10-15 minutes for the short. Thursdays are the warrior routine which I would recommend setting aside a full hour to do. You can always adjust the schedule around so the long routine falls on a better day for you.
As other people have suggested, a foam roller is amazingly helpful. Here are some pictures with examples https://www.womenshealthmag.com/fitness/a19963985/foam-roller-exercises/
Though be mindful of your technique and not to roll on your lower spine. That one picture with the girl and her back is way too low and can be dangerous. There's a natural curvature and you do not want to overdo it on such an important spot.
Make sure to choose a roller based on the intensity, where a standard foam cylinder will have the lightest, a plastic tube medium, and a spiked plastic one the highest.
A lacrosse ball can have a similar effect for a more targeted punch into your shoulder blades and glutes. There are also other options like a theracane (https://www.amazon.com/Thera-Cane-JMAS5000-Massager-Green/dp/B000PRMCJU) or some kind of other trigger point type tool that you can use for myofascial release on particular target areas. Though these two options are really more for upper back pain.
Thing to remember though is this has to be a consistent habit and will not be a quick fix. Just like our patient's on antihypertensives or antidiabetic medications, you need to work these types of things into a routine particularly if you are already feeling pain. It's a little bit of tough love, but make time and take care of your body.
Hope you feel better!
Get one of these. Thera Cane Massager: Green [link]
I highly recommend a Thera Cane Massager ([link]) for the same massage you'd do with a lacrosse ball. It's very easy to focus on areas of the back.
Get a thera-cane to work out those back muscles!
I started yoga for back pain and one of the things I realized is that back pain is often linked to lots of different areas of the body. Of course I can't relate to your back pain, only speak from my own experience which was not injury, but posture related. Edit I saw below you said you had a spinal fracture, so do take this advice with a grain of salt..just speaking from my own experience.
But I found that having tight ham strings and hips contributed to my back pain but then I had tight hamstrings because of issues with my quads, etc. Basically everything is connected and I found it important to take a holistic approach. So I would suggest not only focusing on upper back but doing full body work with an emphasis on your upper back.
But I would recommend (in addition to cat cows):
And then I highly, highly recommend getting a theracane ([link]). You can work on problematic trigger points much better in your back. I use this every day.
Edit 2: Let me also suggest Mobility WOD. [link]. Not yoga related but may give some good info
Get one of these things: [link]
They feel so amazing.
The only thing we have in common is this which is just over the $25 limit
I'll have what she's having.
BTW, if you don't have one already, theracane
You can exchange massages with a coworker, get something like a thera cane/back buddy. [link]
Try and use a hot pack on your shoulders before you start working with a thera cane.