Scoliosis results in a significant right to left imbalance in muscle activity in the affected areas of the spine, so corrective scoliosis exercises must be pattern specific and address the muscular imbalances on the specific side of the weakness.
Scoliosis Exercises Must Be Pattern and Side Specific
Scoliosis exercises are supposed to be good for you but did you know that some non-specific exercises for scoliosis can actually make it worse? When it comes to scoliosis it’s important to know that not all therapeutic scoliosis exercises are created equal.
Knowing what kind of scoliosis exercises might be good for your particular scoliosis curvature pattern and which ones may make it worse is crucial if you have scoliosis.
That’s why it’s so important to find a program that provides specific exercises for your scoliosis. It should be taught by a certified professional trained in identifying your particular curve pattern and can provide you with specific exercises to help counteract your type of scoliosis curvature. If not, there is a risk of actually worsening your scoliosis with the wrong type of exercises.
Scoliosis “Specific” Exercises
What are “Specific” Scoliosis Exercises? They are specially designed corrective movements or isometric exercises that help reduce or stabilize particular scoliosis curvatures. They are not a “one-size-fits-all” kind of exercise program.
A scoliosis is reinforced by chronic abnormal movement patterns, so if a movement pattern is detrimental to a particular area of the spine, then stretching vigorously into that pattern will further worsen the imbalance.
Scoliosis therapeutic exercises should be tailored to counteract your particular curvature pattern based on the location and degrees of the curvatures, the pattern of the curvature (typical or atypical), the coronal, are they correcting your sagittal, horizontal balance of your spine and the bony deformity of your spine.
For instance, for someone with a single thoracic scoliosis causing a rib hump a rotational stretch in one direction may be ok but doing that same stretch in the other direction can actually worsen the rib protrusion. Ironically, a stretch in that direction may feel good as you are stretching muscles on the side that are over-strained but in doing so you are re-enforcing the scoliosis curvature pattern.
Scoliosis Exercises are Unilateral
This is why most therapeutic scoliosis exercises that are done bilaterally, (meaning doing the same exercise to stretch the spine the same way on both sides of the body) should be avoided by someone with scoliosis as they have the potential of doing more harm than good. Care should be given to direct the exercises to only work on the side that the muscles have shortened and weakened to help correct the scoliosis imbalance.
Scoliosis Exercises for a “C” Shaped Scoliosis
A scoliosis curvature is most often a unilateral rotation dysfunction, (, in other words, the spine twists in a helix in one direction) so the exercises needed to correct it must be done in the opposite direction to counteract the curvatures. When there is a double or “S” shaped Curve with both a thoracic and a lumbar curve while the spine rotates one direction in the thoracic region because of the biomechanics of the spine it also rotates the other direction in the lumbar spine.
Scoliosis Exercises for an “S” Shaped Scoliosis
So someone who has a double major scoliosis curvature (like the one shown here) should avoid a rotational stretch (like the one shown above) altogether. While a movement like this may stretch the shortened muscles properly in one area well, because the spine in a double major curve actually rotates in the opposite direction in the other region of the spine rotational scoliosis exercises it will actually worsen that curvature.
Finding Scoliosis Exercises That Are Right For Your Curve Type
The first step in choosing the right corrective scoliosis exercises for yourself is knowing your particular curvature scoliosis pattern. Usually it is necessary to find a professional who is specifically trained in the abnormal three dimensional biomechanics of the scoliosis spine as well as evaluation and treatment of scoliosis that can help you identify it. They also must be extremely familiar with the unilateral application of specialized exercises and how to apply them to help correct your particular scoliosis patterns.
Unless this is done, you run the risk of worsening your scoliosis.