Scoliosis is a condition that occurs when your spine curves abnormally. It can cause back and neck pain as well as difficulty with balance and posture. The curve in your spine can cause muscle cramps and pain that radiates to other areas of the body, but regular exercise can reduce this pain by keeping your muscles healthy and mobile. Consult your doctor before beginning any exercise or physical therapy routine, as some people with scoliosis require a back brace or surgery to alleviate symptoms.
Stretching keeps your muscles moving through their full range of motion and can help alleviate tension, particularly when you stretch several times a day. Stretching is especially helpful if you have to sit hunched over a desk, which can exacerbate symptoms. Stretch your neck by moving your right ear toward your right shoulder, then your left ear toward your left shoulder. Then roll move your head forward from left to right to stretch your neck. To stretch your chest and shoulders, extend your arms straight up until you feel a stretch. Then lower your arms, bend your elbows and move your elbows toward your back until you feel stretching. Hold for three to five seconds and repeat several times each day.
Scoliosis can inhibit your ability to move your neck in a gliding motion, particularly if you don't get regular exercise. Try positioning your chin down toward your chest, then moving your chin up and out in one smooth motion to help your neck glide outward normally. Repeat five to 10 times. Next, while lying face down, lift your head off of the ground and move your neck toward your back until you feel a stretch. Repeat five to 10 times.
Low-impact chest exercise will keep your pecs strong and help to stabilize your spine. Lie on a stability ball with the ball underneath your shoulder blades. Then, with a small weight in each hand, hold your hands at your sides pointed toward the ground and bend your elbows to bring your hands up above your chest to touch one another. Repeat five to 10 times. Next, position yourself on the floor balancing on your knees and hands. Tense your abdominal and chest muscles and slowly draw your back upward to form an upside down U. Hold for three to five seconds and repeat five to 10 times.
Regular cardiovascular exercise will keep your heart healthy and help your muscles work together efficiently. But many scoliosis patients find that running and jumping are painful, so they avoid exercise altogether. Instead, try walking at a brisk pace for 20 to 30 minutes each day. Swimming can also be helpful if exercise is painful because there is only minimal impact to your joints but you'll still get an excellent workout.
- Piedmont Spine Center: Degenerative Scoliosis
- Scoliosis is Nutty: Neck Exercises
- Esprit Wellness: Cardiovascular Exercises for Scoliosis Patients
- Three-Dimensional Treatment for Scoliosis; Christa Lehnert-Schroth et al.
Van Thompson is an attorney and writer. A former martial arts instructor, he holds bachelor's degrees in music and computer science from Westchester University, and a juris doctor from Georgia State University. He is the recipient of numerous writing awards, including a 2009 CALI Legal Writing Award.