Managing day to day tasks

Scoliosis can affect your mobility particularly if you have back pain or have recently had an operation. This sheet gives some guidelines that can help with managing day to day tasks more easily

Getting washed and dressed

The first 2 hours out of bed are often the most painful or tricky. Take your time whilst getting washed and dressed.

Washing

Showers are easier than baths, especially if you are washing your hair, but baths are good to relax your muscles. If you are using a wash basin, use a small stool to place your foot on. Make sure everything you need is within reach. Getting in and out of the bath can be difficult. Bath boards can help. Sit down to dry your feet and pull them up onto your lap or a foot stool, or dry them with a towel on the floor; do not bend over.

Getting dressed

  • Wear comfortable, loose clothing, that is easy to get on and off
  • Supportive footwear is a good idea or grip socks for around the home
  • When putting trousers on, it is easier to do it sitting or lying down rather than standing up.
  • Put socks on by leaning against a wall or with one foot on a stool (or sit on a chair and bring the foot up to you)

Kitchen and meal preparation 

Work surfaces- They can be too low; to overcome this drawback you could buy wooden blocks to raise chopping boards, or simply use thick chopping boards. Some people find perching chairs helpful.

Storage- Try to keep items within reach. Also it might help to keep lighter items on higher shelves and heavier items on lower ones.

Posture and positioning- Try to work between hip and eye level, and stand correctly with legs shoulder width apart. Ideally keep shoulders back, bend your knees slightly, and keep your tummy in.

Ovens- The best approach is to kneel on one knee to the side of the oven and place the dish in front of you.

Saving energy- When preparing a meal, try to pace yourself and don’t try to do it all at once. You can help to save energy by changing position frequently, leaning against the surface, or perching on a stool. 

Housework 

Tackling the dreaded domestic tasks can be tricky and tiring. You can make things easier for yourself in several ways. These can range from using correct posture and saving energy to your choice of cleaning equipment. Avoid doing too much at once – try working for an hour and then have a break.

Vacuuming - use an upright vacuum cleaner, be step standing and bend your knees as you use it.

Sweeping - use a long handled brush and dust pan

Ironing- use a height adjustable board at 5-10cm below elbow height. Don’t stand for more than half an hour at a time.

Making beds- allow plenty of space around the bed. Move round on all fours or with one knee leaning against the mattress.

Cleaning the bath- try kneeling with one hand on the opposite side. Spray the bath with a rinse-off cleaner to avoid scrubbing.

Washing and ironing clothes- it helps to not let it pile up. Split the load and carry the washing basket in front of you and not on your hip, or use a push trolley. When putting the basket on the floor try to squat by bending from the knee rather than bending at the waist. Remember, bending puts a lot of pressure on the spine!

Shopping- don’t be afraid to get help! Try not to carry too many things alone - ask a friend or neighbour.

Further information on coping with scoliosis:

Advice for before/after surgery

Adaptive Aids

Pain Management

Posture & Positioning

 

Available in large print format on request

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