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Strength and Stretch for Scoliosis:

Scoliosis is characterized by an S- or C- shaped curve in the spine. It's usually present in childhood but can also develop in adulthood. There are many reasons that scoliosis can occur as we age: uneven position of the pelvis, genetics, injuries to the joints of spine that hav occurred in the past, distortions of the foot, and even head injuries. The curvature of the spine can vary in its severity. Bracing and/or surgery may help to correct the scoliosis, your doctor can advise you on the appropriate treatment plan for you.

People with scoliosis have a difficult time moving in one direction due to the curvature of the spine. There are different types of scoliosis, classified depending on severity:

  • Mild: usually does not require significant medical attention and is not as visible to the eye as other postural disorders. The Cobb Angle, a measurement for the curvature of the spine is less than 20 degrees. Mild scoliosis is the most responsive to exercise.

  • Moderate: can be treated with exercise, but a medical brace may be prescribed also. the spine curvature is between 40 and 45 degrees. It can develop into severe scoliosis.

  • Severe: this type of scoliosis may need to be corrected with spinal surgery.

The best exercises for scoliosis combine stretching and strengthening to improve flexibility to increase range of motion and reduce rigidity of the spine. Strengthening exercises build strength and endurance in the core so that the progression of the curvature of the spine can be slowed. In the case of adult scoliosis, the wear and tear of the discs and spinal joints , gradual degeneration of the facet joints, and the loss of elasticity of soft tissue around the spine contribute to degenerative scoliosis. The exercises that are most recommended are ones that focus of improving flexibility and range of motion to help address spinal rigidity.

Stretching exercises for scoliosis include:

  • Seated Twist: Sit upright on your mat with your legs extended infant of you. Bend your right knee, then cross your right leg over. Square your hips so they remain even. Reach your right arm behind you and place your fingertips on the floor, gently twisting your body to the right. Raise your arm upward. Hook your left arm around your bent right knee. Take a deep breath and exhale as you. twist further to the right. With each exhale, twist your body further. Gently release from the pose and repeat on the other side.

  • Cat/Cow: Inhale deeply while curving your lower back and bringing your head up, tilting your pelvis up like a "cow". Exhale deeply and bring your abdomen, arching your spine and bringing your head and pelvis down like a "cat". Repeat several times.

Scoliosis strengthening exercises for adults may include some of the following exercises to promote core strength and stability around the muscles that support the pelvis and the spine :

  • Bird Dog: In an all fours position, brace your abdominals, put one arm straight in front and the opposite leg behind you, forming a straight line from your extended hand to your extended foot. Hold for a few seconds, then return to your hands and knees. Switch to the other side. Complete 5-10 reps on each side.

  • Pelvic Tilt: Lie on your back on the floor with your knees bene. Flatten your back against the floor by tightening your abdominal muscles and bending your pelvis up slightly. Hold for up to 10 seconds and repeat 10 times.

  • Knee Plank: Lie on your stomach with forearms on the floor (elbows directly under shoulders). Press your forearms into the floor and raise your torso off the floor while keeping your knees, tows, and elbows touching the floor. Keep your core tight and your neck in a neutral position (avoid looking up or down), and avoid lifting your hips or dropping them by tucking in your pelvis. While engaging your glutes, hold this position for 30 seconds, or as long as you can while maintaining proper form.

Be sure to consult with a doctor who specializes in scoliosis before beginning an exercise program. Avoid any physical activity or sport that causes pain or discomfort.


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