We all know the adolescent years can be some of the most challenging (and awkward) in a person’s life, and going through it with scoliosis can bring on physical and emotional hardships. Summer might have provided a nice break for kids with scoli from the woes of school-life but as it comes to an end they’ll have to go back to braving the trials of being an adolescent while dealing with physical pain or discomfort, and the emotional stress that often accompanies scoliosis.

To help better manage their scoli on top of the homework, pop quizzes, and busy schedules, check out these five important and easily executed tips, below:

Lockers, backpacks and sports!

  1. If your school has half-lockers, ask for a top locker. Get a doctor’s note if necessary. Having a top locker will put a lot less strain on your back throughout the year as you won’t have to bend down to access it multiple times a day.
  1. Ask if your locker can be located near the majority of your classrooms or in a main hallway of the school. This will allow you to make more trips to your locker throughout the day, and carry less weight on your back or in your arms, putting less strain on your scoliosis. Again, get a doctor’s note if necessary.
  1. If your school has full-length lockers, buy multiple shelving units for your locker. This will allow you to store all of your books as close to eye level as possible, preventing you from having to bend over to pick up heavy items, such as textbooks.  When you do have to reach something lower than eye-level, bend your legs rather than bending at your waist. Examples of shelving units can be found here.
  1. If you’re buying a new backpack this year, buy one with two shoulder straps and always wear it over both shoulders. Distributing the weight over both shoulders will be less harmful on your scoliosis than wearing a bag on one shoulder. Avoid side satchel backpacks as well.
  1. If you are choosing to go out for a new sport this year, choose one that will impact your scoliosis the least, one with less forceful impact, twisting or torque on the spine. Examples of higher risk sports for someone with scoli could include volleyball, tennis, fencing, high jump and long jump. Sports that are typically lower risk for those with scoli include cross country running, basketball, swimming and soccer.