Best Exercises For Scoliosis (Pictures & Videos)

Best Exercises & Yoga for SCOLIOSIS

As common are the back problems these days in youth, the access to its preventive and curative information is exceptionally inadequate. Top of the charts is Scoliosis or the spine curving to one side commonly in back of chest area (thoracic region). Sadly ladies all our good hormones don’t rescue us from it. Buuuuuuut….that doesn’t mean we gotta live with it. Let’s look at a bunch of exercises to help relieve the cataclysmic symptoms of SCOLIOSIS.

Now you may wonder why can’t I just practice the traditional back pain relieving regime?? The answer is NO…the curved spine alters the action of muscles of your back resulting in the requirement of extra precaution in whatever you do and using whichever aid (I mean using more of Swiss ball and less of dumbles and weight cuffs)

Scoliosis is nothing but an abnormal curvature of the spine that causes discomfort and usually develops during puberty. Muscular dystrophy & Cerebral palsy can be the reason behind scoliosis but most of the time cause of scoliosis in undefined.

Almost 80% cases of scoliosis are termed as 'idiopathic scoliosis', means that there is no apparent reason behind it. Scoliosis is more common in the young girls, and almost 2% of United States population is suffering from this disorder.

Though exercises do not help in reversing the scoliosis condition, it surely helps to increase tone and power of back muscles. Several exercises can help to build the back muscles, but today we are going to discuss the best exercises for scoliosis that can help to develop strong back muscles and provide some relief from discomfort caused by scoliosis.​

Many times exercise helps in managing scoliosis ​as well as in some mild scoliosis cases it may reverse the effects of scoliosis and provide relief.

Nonoperative Management of Scoliosis

As we all know that not every sufferer of spinal malformation caused by scoliosis requires treatment. Instead, most of adults suffering from this deformity does not even show the disabling sign & symptoms.

In such cases these deformities can easily managed with very simple measures like taking OTC pain killer, regular visit to hospital for continuous observation, Yoga & exercises.

Basically, yoga & exercises are aimed to strengthen the core muscles of back, abdomen & chest. It also helps to improve the flexibility of these muscles.

Back braces are also recommended to get the short term pain relief. Study also shows that it can be beneficial to use braces for long term. But while using braces for long term, one has to concentrate on doing exercises on daily basis as braces may weaken the core muscles of back.

For the pain caused by arthritis as well as pinched nerves, nerve blocks, epidurals & facet injections can be used to reduced its severity. Physicians at pain management clinics can provide such treatment to help patient find the pain relief.

Stronger pain killer medication provides quick relief but must be used with caution as it can form the habit.

Overall, visiting a scoliosis surgeon is good idea to get thing cleared. Meanwhile you can practice the following yoga poses & exercises to help your back.​

What are the goals of exercises & yoga for scoliosis?

Stretching exercises with yoga can help in scoliosis to some extend. The ultimate goal to build strength within the muscles of back, abdomen, pelvic​ & lower limbs. It also helps to align your spine.

  • To strengthen the core muscles of back, abdomen and pelvic. These exercises includes supermans, crunches & planks
  • Practicing spine-centric yoga postures to align spine and your body while increasing overall flexibility of muscles.
  • Stretching the lower limb muscles to relieve back pain that caused by pinched nerves.

Best exercises (& Yoga poses) for scoliosis

Here are some best yoga poses and exercises that can help in scoliosis -

  1. Stretch Up and Reach Down
  2. ​Side Stretch
  3. Swiss Ball Side Bends
  4. Spine Release
  5. Downward Facing Dog
  6. Seating Trunk Rotation
  7. Triangle Pose - Trikonasana
  8. Hip Roll & Bridge

Let us start with Intervention strategy followed by Strengthening:

Relaxation and Posture Correction​

Pillow placement

while in side lying position on the opposite side of curve, place pillows to support between arms and legs. This accounts for the best posture for sleeping. Alternatively you can sleep supine with a pillow right under scoliotic junction as in back Hyper extension. Not only are these position will not let the progression of the curve but will also help involved muscles relax.​

Now for some STRETCHES (Need to be held for 40-60 seconds or a count of 30 and repeated 5 times)​

Side Bends​

  • ​Stand straight legs shoulder width apart (yeah like Superman 🙂 )
  • Raise the hand on the side of curvature with the other hand on your waist asit was.
  • Now bend towards the opposite side.
  • Now return back to the starting position

Swiss Ball Side Bends

This will be your favorite stretch as all you have to do is lie on the opposite side of the curve on a Swiss ball and let Gravity do its work. Brace your feet against a wall or bench for support.

Spine Release

  • Lie on your back with feet flat on the floor, knees bent, and arms extended out to sides.
  • Lower knees to unaffected side while gently turning head to the affected side.
  • Allow the side of thighs to touch floor, keep your affected shoulder pressed firmly against the floor.​

Remember the stretches are mainly for the shortened side to relieve muscles thus correcting your posture. Also keep neck relaxed and avoid Jerky movements

Exercise Time (Need to be held for 10 seconds or a count of 7 and repeated 12 times)

Balancing Step Down​

  • Start with the affected side leg on a stepper
  • Lower the opposite leg down to the floor as you bend (like squatting, knee over ankle).
  • Finally raise the arm of the affected side as high as possible to balance the posture.​

Downward facing Dog

Downward facing Dog Yoga Pose

Making an inverted ‘V’ with your trunk, arms and legs stretched out straight, push your hips back as far as possible. You can check pose 8 SUN SALUTATION for reference.

Trunk rotations

  • Sit comfortably in a chair with arm rests, feet placed on the floor at a 90 degree angle at ankle, same as your knee.
  • Rotate your trunk opposite to the affected side.
  • To enhance the effectiveness of this exercise you can grab on to the arm rest for around 30 seconds. Gently bring back to the starting position.
  • This exercise can be done with the other side as well losing the grip hold.​

Tri angle Pose (Trikonasana)

Triangle Standing Pose - Trikonasana
  • Stand with a wider than shoulder stance hands stretched out to sides.
  • With the hand of unaffected side reach down to the same side ankle.
  • You might hold on the ankle with your hand for around 30 seconds to enhance the effectiveness of the exercise.
  • Attentively the exercise can be modified with bending your unaffected knee to a 90 degree pulling the same pose.​

Standing Forward Bend with modification

  • Stand with feet shoulder width apart hands stretched over your head.
  • Reach down with your hands towards your ankle, touch the floor (even if it requires you to increase stance width)
  • With this position twist on to your unaffected side, hands placed on either side of unaffected foot.​

Hip Roll & Bridge​

  • Lie down on your back with knees bent at 90 degrees and in the air.
  • Arms stretched wide out palm facing down.
  • Roll your body to the affected side, followed by unaffected side.
  • As the last few exercises this can be more effective by holding on to a few seconds on the unaffected side.​

Stretch Up & Reach Down

This is one of the effective scoliosis exercises that help to relieve stress in back muscles caused by scoliosis.

To perform this exercise, stand against the wall. Make sure that your back touching against the wall and arms are swinging loosely at your side.

If the right side of the back is affected and tight then slowly lift your right arm towards the ceiling. While raising your right arm towards the ceiling, reach towards the floor with your left hand. This will pull the back muscles and you will feel the subtle shift in spinal alignment.

Hold this stretch for at least 10 to 15 seconds, then you can relax slowly. This exercise can be repeated 5 to 10 times in a single setting and can be done twice a day. It is advisable to take help of health care provider before starting this exercise to better understand which side of your back is affected more.​

Side Stretch

Standing Side Stretch

by Jason Lee (@realsimple.com)

This is one more easy exercise that will help in scoliosis.

​First of all, keep your feet together while standing and take both arms overhead and clasp both hands together. Make sure that all fingers are interlaced except the index fingers. Keep index fingers extended. While taking your arms up and interlacing your fingers take a deep breath.

Now, exhale as you start bending slowly toward your right side. Once you bend towards the right side wait for few seconds until you complete 6 slow breaths. Then, return to the central position.

Repeat the same moves on the left side and do 5 repetitions on each side of the body.​

Well, this pretty much includes the entire to do’s. There is a disputed opinion about to or not to practice weights during the Scoliosis exercises therefore weight bearing aids and devices are not included up anywhere.

Also Scoliosis compromises on your breathing muscles so DO NOT forget to pursue normal breathing exercises. I have made it a point to keep the exercises as neutral as possible, nevertheless, always take advice from your doctor or fitness professional before you get into it. Happy Exercising….

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Author -This article is collaboratively written by Dr. Sachin & Dr. Tripti