Scoliosis Exercises You Can Do at Home

Overview

Scoliosis is characterized by an S- or C-shaped curve in the spine. It’s generally seen in childhood, but it can also come about in adulthood. Scoliosis in adults can occur due to a variety of reasons, including genetics, uneven pelvic position, past spinal or joint surgeries, knee or foot distortions, or even head injuries. Some curves are deeper than others. In moderate to severe cases, scoliosis is corrected through surgery. If you suspect scoliosis, you should consult your doctor about an appropriate treatment plan.

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We spoke to Rocky Snyder, a personal trainer and corrective exercise specialist based in Santa Cruz, California, who suggested a few exercises for people with scoliosis, as well as stretches that may help improve dexterity.

The difference between a typical spine and that of a person with scoliosis, he explains, is that the former can move from side to side. For instance, when you walk, your spine bends and rotates left and right, ultimately reverting back to the center. People with scoliosis have a difficult time moving in one direction due to the curvature of their spine.

Two re-educational stretches

Finding new ways to move can help restore some of the imbalances of scoliosis, Snyder says. He suggests two ways to do this. One is to drive your body in the direction it is already bending to stretch even further. This can cause the muscle you are stretching to pull back and slightly shorten. Scoliosis affects the ability of the central nervous system to help muscles contract and shorten. “You need to stretch them further to bring them to a shortened state,” says Snyder.

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The second approach involves doing the opposite: If your spine leans to your left, simply lean to the right. This method, Snyder notes, doesn’t seem to work as well. The stretches are meant to help muscles that have gone lax. “Imagine taking a rubber band and keeping it stretched for a long time and then letting it go,” he says. “It wouldn’t know how to shorten back up again.”

Three exercises for scoliosis

The following exercises are targeted toward people with scoliosis. Exercise is important for overall good health, although for people with moderate or severe scoliosis, Snyder recommends a doctor’s assessment first.

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Step down and one-arm reach

  1. With whichever leg appears longer when you lay on your back, step onto a small box or step.
    Lower the opposite leg down to the floor as you bend into the knee.
    As you descend, raise the arm on the same side as the lowered leg up as high as possible. For example, if the left foot is lowering to the floor, raise the left arm.
    Perform 2 to 3 sets of 5 to 10 reps on this side only. Do not perform the exercise on the other side.

Upward and downward dog

  1. In a prone plank position with your arms stretched out straight, push your hips back and up as far as possible.
  2. Hold this for 2 seconds, and then lower your hips back down toward the floor.
  3. Try to get as low as possible without giving yourself back discomfort or pain.
  4. Perform 2 to 3 sets of 5 to 10 reps.
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Split stance with arm reach

  1. Step forward with the longer leg in front in a slightly exaggerated stride length.
  2. Keep your torso as upright as possible at all times.
  3. Begin shifting your weight back and forth, allowing the forward knee to bend as you feel the weight shift onto it.
  4. As you shift your weight forward, raise the arm that is opposite of your forward leg as high as possible to the sky.
  5. While that arm is reaching upward, reach the other arm back with the palm up as much as possible. This causes the torso and spine to turn toward the side of the forward leg.
  6. Perform this exercise only on that side. Perform 2 to 3 sets of 5 to 10 reps.
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Types of scoliosis

Certain exercises may be prescribed by a physician or physical therapist to help you with your specific structural difference, but they are not a means for treatment. Treatment for moderate to severe scoliosis will most likely involve surgery.

Mild scoliosis, however, will usually not require significant medical attention and is not as visible to the eye as other posture disorders. Mild scoliosis is generally the term used to describe scoliosis where the Cobb angle, or curvature of the spine, is less than 20 degrees. Mild scoliosis is the most responsive to exercise treatment.

Moderate scoliosis may be treated with exercise too, but wearing a medically prescribed brace is sometimes recommended as well. Moderate scoliosis may develop into severe scoliosis, defined as a spine curvature between 40 and 45 degrees. Severe scoliosis usually needs to be corrected with spinal surgery.

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Managing your scoliosis

Mild scoliosis is often managed simply with exercise, medical observation, and scoliosis-specific physical therapy. For some people with scoliosis, yoga is also recommended to decrease their pain level and increase flexibility.

Moderate scoliosis often involves bracing to stop the spine from curving further. Depending on the curvature of the spine, your doctor might recommend increased medical observation or other treatment methods.

Once the spine reaches a certain curvature, and once the person with scoliosis reaches a certain age, surgery becomes the most recommended treatment option. Surgery to correct scoliosis can take several forms and depends on a variety of factors, including:

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  • the way that your spine is shaped
  • how tall you are
  • whether or not other parts of your body have been severely impaired by the growth of your spine

Takeaway

Exercise is being recommended more and more as a treatment for mild to moderate scoliosis. By being proactive and performing these exercises, you may be able to slow the curvature of your spine and decrease the pain you feel as a result of your scoliosis. Pilates and yoga routines geared specifically toward those who have impaired spinal flexibility can also serve as a treatment to lessen pain. It’s important to always get the opinion of your orthopedist before beginning a scoliosis treatment regimen, even one that involves simple exercises. This ensures that you won’t be harming your skeletal system by performing these exercises.

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Deformities of the spine: Lordosis, Kyphosis, and Scoliosis ICD-9: 737.20 LORDOSIS ICD-9: 737.10 KYPHOSIS ICD-9: 737.30 SCOLIOSIS Video: How to Correct a Scoliosis With Exercise and Stretching Description ⚡ Lordosis ⚡ is an abnormal inward curvature of the lumbar or lower spine. This condition is commonly called “swayback.” Kyphosis is an abnormal outward curvature of the upper thoracic vertebrae. Commonly, this curvature is known as “humpback” or “round back.” Scoliosis is an abnormal sideward curvature of the spine to either the left or right. Some rotation of a portion of the vertebral column also may occur. Scoliosis often occurs in combination with kyphosis and lordosis. These three spinal deformities may affect children as well as adults. FIGURE. Spinal curvatures Etiology Lordosis, kyphosis, and scoliosis may be caused by a variety of problems, including congenital spinal defects, poor posture, a discrepancy in leg lengths (especially in scoliosis), and growth retardation or a vascular disturbance in the epiphysis of th...
Kyphoscoliosis: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment What is kyphoscoliosis? Kyphoscoliosis is an abnormal curve of the spine on two planes: the coronal plane, or side to side, and the saggital plane, or back to front. It’s a combined spinal abnormality of two other conditions: kyphosis and scoliosis. Scoliosis causes the spine to curve abnormally on the coronal plane, meaning it twists sideways. Kyphosis causes the spine to curve abnormally on the saggital plane, meaning it twists forward or backward, similar to a hunchback. People with kyphoscoliosis have a spine that curves both to the side and forward or backward at the same time. This condition can occur at any age, including at birth. According to a case report about the condition, 80 percent of cases are idiopathic. This means there’s no known cause of the condition. Symptoms of kyphoscoliosis vary. Sometimes people with the condition may only have an abnormal hunch or slouch. In more severe cases, there can be negative effects on the lungs and heart. The muscles may not...
Scoliosis: Causes, Symptoms and Diagnosis Scoliosis is an abnormal curvature of the spine. The normal shape of a person’s spine includes a curve at the top of the shoulder and a curve at the lower back. If your spine is curved from side to side or in an “S” or “C” shape, you might have scoliosis. According to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS), about 80 percent of scoliosis cases have no identifiable cause. The condition is often diagnosed during the first seven years of a child’s life. Common causes, when they can be pinpointed, are: birth defects neurological abnormalities genetic conditions What are the common types of scoliosis? The largest category of scoliosis is idiopathic scoliosis, a term used to refer to cases that have no definite cause. Idiopathic scoliosis is broken down by age group: infant: 0 to 3 years juvenile: 4 to 10 years adolescent: 11 to 18 years adult: 18+ years Of these, adolescent idiopathic scoliosis is the most common, according to the AANS. ...
Experimental Scoliosis Treatment The frequencies and energies encoded along with the subliminal and subliminal programming in this video will cause your spine to gradually shift and straighten out until you no longer have your condition, It is experimental so effects may not be as drastic but it should cause good changes and relief. Use as much as you need to. Safe for use by non scoliosis users as well.