Swimmer
For many scoliosis patients, the most difficult aspect of coping with their condition is not the pain or the cosmetic appearance of their back but the physical restrictions that a spinal curvature imposes on their life. This makes scoliosis a particularly problematic and limiting ailment for people with a keen interest in sports and/or other physical activities due to the discomfort, the health risks, and the constraints that stem both from the condition itself and from certain scoliosis treatment methods. 
While there is no proven link between swimming and the occurrence of scoliosis, the condition if often detected in those who swim competitively or train regularly, and because of the imbalance caused by a spinal curvature, this can make it difficult to swim in straight lines (among other issues). Although swimming is largely considered to be a beneficial exercise for scoliosis sufferers due to the non-jarring movements and improvements in flexibility and muscle strength, it can also prove challenging for people with curved spines. There are several reasons for this:
  • Breathing Capacity – For those with particularly severe curves, scoliosis can lead to reduced lung capacity, which is especially frustrating for swimmers due to the vital role that breath control plays in achieving success on a competitive level.
  • Increased Difficulty in Performing Certain Movements – Aside from breathing difficulties, a primary concern for many swimmers with scoliosis is their range of motion, which can be limited by the presence of a spinal curve. While modified movements can facilitate the basic action of propelling oneself through water, this difficulty in executing the desired movements to the best of one’s ability can become frustrating for many swimmers, who may find that they are unable to perform at their usual level as their scoliosis progresses.
  • Restrictive Treatment Programmes – Supplementing time spent in the pool with other forms of treatment can be beneficial for those with scoliosis, but certain treatment methods can present difficulties for swimmers, particularly those who train on a daily basis. Back braces, for example, are commonly prescribed to younger sufferers as a measure for preventing curve progression, but this approach relies on strong and constant pressure, which means that the brace must be worn for long periods of time. This can make bracing incredibly inconvenient and somewhat ineffective for swimmers, who must remove their brace every time they enter the pool. As for scoliosis sufferers who undergo spinal fusion surgery for their condition, they have to spend several weeks recovering from the operation before they are able to resume their training.

What are the best scoliosis treatment options for swimmers?

Jessie Bowen
For swimmers and other scoliosis sufferers who regularly take part in physical activities, the most beneficial treatment option is often the one that supports their ability to correct and manage their condition without placing unnecessary restrictions on their ability to perform. Over the years, we at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic have treated several swimmers, including some who travelled from overseas to complete a treatment course here.
One example is Jessie Bowen from Canada, who was told that she urgently required surgical treatment for her spinal curvature at the age of 14. Being an individual who was very physically active and swam on a daily basis, Jessie found it very difficult to deal with the prospect of spending 6 months laid up while recovering from major surgery. This is what led her family to get in touch with Scoliosis SOS and enrol her onto one of our intensive 4-week treatment programmes. While there were many initial reservations about the cost of travelling to England and receiving treatment, this all proved to be more than worthwhile for Jessie, who reaped both the short- and long-term benefits of our unique treatment approach.
Not only did Jessie experience noticeable improvements in her physical appearance and pain levels, she was also provided with enhanced knowledge about her condition, which granted her the ability to manage her symptoms on a continual basis. The impact of this treatment was so striking, in fact, that Jessie was prompted to pursue a career in physiotherapy, and now works as a qualified practitioner in northern Canada.
To read more about Jessie’s story, click here.
If you’re a swimmer who suffers with scoliosis, or a similar spinal issue, and would like to find out more about how we can help you to manage and overcome the limitations of your condition, please feel free to get in touch with us today!
Yoga for Scoliosis
It seems that yoga classes are popping up everywhere these days, and this ancient Indian practice has also become very popular among online communities. Placing emphasis on psychological and physical balance, yoga is often used to improve an individual’s physical ability, as well as their mental well-being. This is achieved via a combination of poses and breathing exercises, which are said to improve strength and flexibility while also combating the negative effects of everyday life (such as stress and bad posture). While yoga has received a lot of good press in the health and wellness industry, it’s important to examine how yoga is being promoted to those with specific medical conditions, including scoliosis. The benefits of yoga have been well documented, but we feel that it is also important to scrutinise the ways in which some people are presenting this approach as a viable, non-surgical treatment for curvature of the spine.

How is yoga used to treat scoliosis?

The form of yoga that is sometimes used to treat scoliosis is called hatha (which, in Sanskrit, simply means ‘force’). Hatha yoga focuses on physical postures and exercises, but also emphasises proper breathing, mental exercises, and a controlled diet. The main aim of yoga-based scoliosis treatment is to create proper alignment within the body while minimising pain and spinal damage. This is achieved by focusing on a number of key areas, including:
  • Strengthening the feet and legs (supposedly relieving some of the burden on your spine)
  • Straightening / lengthening the spine
  • Aligning the lower limbs with the torso for improved function
  • Addressing the rounding of the back
  • Strengthening the core muscles to prevent the back from tightening
  • Incorporation of breathing awareness to improve structural alignment

Should I use yoga to treat my scoliosis?

While yoga can lead to a number of positive benefits for scoliosis sufferers – most notably improved posture and muscle strength, as well as pain relief in some cases – the use of yoga as a scoliosis treatment should be regarded with caution. This is especially true if you are visiting a class or treatment centre that does not cater specifically to the demands of scoliosis sufferers; scoliotic spines don’t always behave in the same way as healthy spines, and this can prove problematic when scoliosis patients participate in certain exercises and activities. In particular, scoliosis sufferers who practice yoga should be careful when performing exercises that involve:
  • Backward / forward bending
  • Torso twists
  • Sideways bends
  • Shoulder stands
  • Bending of the rib cage
The problem is the sheer variety of different deviations that exist in scoliosis patients. Ideally, all treatments (whether yoga-based or not) should be specifically tailored to the patient’s unique condition while also assessing potential areas of concern in order to avoid secondary risks.

Is there a safer alternative to yoga for scoliosis sufferers?

For those who wish to treat their scoliosis without surgery, there are other non-surgical treatment methods available – methods that provide the corrective and strengthening benefits of yoga while also doing more to address the individual needs of the patient. Here at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic, we use our own ScolioGold treatment method: this is a combined programme of non-surgical techniques that we specifically created to address a combination of issues present in individuals suffering from scoliosis. In order to provide the best results, patient outcomes and treatments are constantly monitored and updated in line with the latest medical research in our field. Click here to find out more about our ScolioGold treatment programme, or get in touch with Scoliosis SOS today to arrange a consultation.
scoliois physical therapy
 
No two cases of scoliosis are exactly alike – symptoms and their severity vary hugely from patient to patient and depend on a number of contributing factors. Due to several possibilities in how scoliosis can occur and progress, no one treatment is universally effective; certain treatment routes may be effective for some patients but fail to provide the desired results for others.
 
Another issue that often arises when it comes to treating scoliosis concerns the patient’s personal circumstances and physical abilities. The typically-recommended treatment for progressive curves in young people is a back brace, which is fitted to the patient’s exact measurements and worn for extended periods of time in an effort to limit curve progression. For patients whose curves are progressing at a particularly rapid rate (to a degree that has the potential to limit their mobility, breathing capacity and overall health), spinal fusion surgery is often recommended in order to permanently halt the curvature’s progression. While these options may provide encouraging results for some, others may find them ineffective or limiting, and this prompts many scoliosis sufferers to seek out alternative treatments.
 
One approach that is often discussed as an alternative to surgery and bracing for treating scoliosis is physical therapy – that is, the non-invasive treatment of spinal curvature via a series of exercises and manipulations. While this type of therapy can be an effective form of treatment for scoliosis when performed correctly, the term ‘physical therapy’ is very broad, and individuals are often left confused as to what this treatment actually involves.
 
Below is an explanation of how and why physical therapy is used to treat scoliosis, along with a closer look at the forms of physical therapy that we use here at our clinic:

Why is Physical Therapy Used to Treat Scoliosis?

Scoliosis patients may seek treatment via physical therapy for a number of reasons, including:
  • Avoiding the complications and physical limitations associated with surgery.
  • Improving body image by reducing the visibility of the curve and avoiding surgery scars.
  • Improving flexibility and mobility by strengthening the muscles surrounding the spine.
  • Relieving the pain caused by scoliosis (often experienced by scoliosis suffers who have undergone surgery).
  • Preventing curve progression using corrective techniques in a way that allows continued maintenance and improvement.

How Does Physical Therapy Work?

Physical therapy for scoliosis works by repeating a series of corrective movements and techniques, which are intended to limit restrictions, improve posture, strengthen the back muscles, and increase the patient’s range of motion. All of this contributes to reducing the level of pain experienced by the patient, along with improving their physical ability and correcting the visual symptoms of the condition.
 
Here at Scoliosis SOS, we achieve optimal results for each patient by assessing and treating their condition on an individual basis and by providing a range of targeted physical therapies that treat the various aspects of their scoliosis condition. While the Schroth method forms the foundations of our treatment approach, this is complemented and supported by a range of other proven techniques, which work in unison to form our ScolioGold treatment programme.
 
To find out more about how physical therapy can be used to treat scoliosis, or to discuss the unique requirements of your condition, simply get in touch with the Scoliosis SOS team today.
 
Further Reading: Meet Our Physiotherapists
Scoliosis Clothing
 
Anyone can develop scoliosis, although it affects girls more often than boys, and idiopathic scoliosis – the condition’s most common form – almost always develops during adolescence. Due to the visible symptoms of scoliosis, people with curved spines (especially teenagers) often feel insecure and uncomfortable, which can lead to them avoiding certain clothing if they feel it is likely to draw attention to the spinal curve.
 
Finding clothes that make you feel confident and comfortable can be difficult when you’re a scoliosis sufferer, so we thought that it would be a good idea to share a few tips:

Layering

Layering is the perfect way to hide your uneven joints or the outline of your scoliosis brace (if you wear one). Denim jackets, cardigans and button-downs are always in fashion, and they’re great for adding a little extra coverage. Some scoliosis sufferers also use shoulder pads to balance out their uneven shoulders.

Asymmetrical Lines & Eye-Catching Features

Clothing with asymmetrical lines is a great way to make a statement whilst also drawing attention away from uneven shoulders or hips. Fabric that drapes unconventionally gives you a relaxed look that will always be in style, while garments with eye-catching features will also help to draw attention away from your curved spine.

Peplum Tops

The peplum top has been on the high street for quite some time now, and is especially ideal for those who have lumbar spinal curves. Peplum tops are a great way to look fashionable and add extra dimension to our outfit whilst also concealing your spinal curvature.

Swing and Skater Dresses

Dressing up can be difficult when you suffer with scoliosis, and trying to find a dress that complements or hides the shape of your back can be difficult. Swing or skater dresses are ideal if you’re looking to dress up for those special events, as they provide a flattering fit without clinging to your curve.

Don’t Forget to Accessorise!

Accessories are very useful if you suffer from scoliosis. They’re a great way to express your sense of style and draw attention away from areas that you want to play down. A large bag can help balance out your hips, whilst a scarf is a great way to hide your uneven shoulders and draw attention to your face. 
 
If you’re a scoliosis sufferer and you’re looking for a treatment method other than bracing or surgery, you may be interested in our ScolioGold treatment courses. If you wish to book an initial consultation, or if you have any questions, please contact us today!
Purchasing your own gym ball (also known as a Swiss ball, exercise ball or stability ball) is a great idea if you have scoliosis and you want to build up your core strength by performing stretches and exercises at home. Here at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic, we’ve seen countless scoliosis sufferers make astounding improvements simply by following a specially-tailored exercise regime, and we very often use gym balls as part of our ScolioGold treatment courses.
If you have a curved spine and you’d like to work on your back muscles at home, here are 3 simple, beginner-level gym ball exercises for you to try:

Straight Leg Gym Ball Bridge

Straight Leg Gym Ball Bridge
This exercise can be used to activate your gluteal (bottom) muscles and strengthen your core.
  • To begin with, lie on your back with your legs straight and your feet resting on a gym ball. Ensure that you are lying in a straight line. (See image above left.)
  • Engage your core muscles: try to draw your navel in towards your spine.
  • Slowly lift your hips up towards the ceiling by squeezing the muscles in your bottom. Lift up until your body is in a straight diagonal line (see image above right). Be careful not to arch your lower back or flare your ribs.
  • Hold for 5 seconds, then slowly lower yourself back to the floor. Repeat 10 times

Walk Out Gym Ball Bridge

Walk Out Gym Ball Bridge
This is an alternative exercise to the commonly-completed floor bridge.
  • Start by sitting on a gym ball with your arms out in front of you.
  • Slowly walk your feet forwards and allow the ball to roll so that your upper body comes into contact with the ball.
  • Keep going until your knees are at a 90-degree angle and your body is in one straight line. You should now be lying with your back on the ball, looking up at the ceiling.
  • Squeeze the muscles in your bottom and be sure to keep your hips up and your pelvis tucked so that you do not arch your lower back.
  • Hold for 5-10 seconds, then slowly walk your feet back to the starting position. Repeat 10 times.

Gym Ball Balancing

Gym Ball Balancing
This exercise can be used to work on your core stability and postural balance.
  • To start with, sit on your gym ball with your feet hip-width apart and your knees in line with your hips. Place your hands on your hips. (If possible, perform this exercise while facing a mirror.)
  • Elongate up through your spine to ensure that you are not slouching. Check in the mirror to make sure your body is in a straight alignment. Engage your core muscles by drawing your navel to your spine.
  • Try to lift one foot up from the floor without letting any other part of your body move. Ensure that your pelvis does not rock from side to side. Keep your shoulders level.
  • Try to hold this position for 5 seconds, then change sides. Repeat 10 times on each side.

More Scoliosis Exercises:

Disclaimer: The above information should not be treated as medical advice and the scoliosis exercises described may not be suitable or beneficial for everyone. You should not begin any exercise routine without consulting a qualified health practitioner, particularly if you are pregnant, nursing, elderly, or if you have any chronic or recurring conditions. Any application of scoliosis exercises suggested is at the reader’s sole discretion and risk. Scoliosis SOS accepts no responsibility or liability for any loss or injuries caused directly or indirectly through the performing of any exercises described. If you feel any discomfort or pain during exercise, stop immediately. Always consult your own GP if you are in any way concerned about your health or anything associated with it.