If you read our recent blog post about the effects of bad posture, you'll know how detrimental postural problems can be to a person's overall health. Unfortunately, certain jobs / activities can put you at a particularly high risk for poor posture - for example, you are more likely to have bad posture if you:
- Work at a desk
- Regularly lift heavy objects
- Play certain musical instruments (drummers are especially prone to bad posture)
- Frequently drive for long periods
More generally, you may well develop postural problems if you tend to lean on one leg while standing, hunch over your phone while texting, and/or slouch while sitting in a chair.
The good news is that exercise can go a long way to combating the effects of poor posture. Here are three simple posture-improving exercises that are easy to perform in the comfort of your own home:
This exercise is great for computer users who spend hours every day leaning over a desk.
- Sit on a chair (try to find one without arms, as these may get in the way).
- Rest your hands on your thighs.
- Squeeze your shoulder blades together - imagine there is a pencil between your shoulder blades, and you are trying to hold it in place.
- While doing this stretch, keep your chin tucked in and your chest high to achieve the right position.
- Hold the squeeze for 5 seconds, relax, then repeat several times.
This exercise is good for the shoulders - see if you can work out why we call it the 'Titanic' stretch!
- Find something to hold onto - we've used our wall bars in the photo above, but a bannister, door frame or towel rail will be fine.
- Stand with your back to the bars and hold onto them just above shoulder height. Place your feet together, as close to the wall as possible.
- Keeping your arms straight, lean forwards. You should feel a stretch in your chest and at the front of your shoulders.
- Hold this position for 30 seconds. Try to keep your chin tucked in.
- Relax and repeat 3 times.
This exercise strengthens your core muscles and targets the lower back to help improve your posture.
- Lie on your front.
- Prop yourself up on your forearms and toes, so that your whole body is raised off the floor. Try to place your shoulders right above your elbows and create a straight line from head to toe - you will need to make sure that your legs are straight and your hips raised.
- Hold this position for 5 seconds, relax, then repeat several times.
An easier version of this exercise involves resting on your knees instead of your toes, as shown here:
More exercises to try at home:
Disclaimer: The above information should not be treated as medical advice, and the 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 the exercises suggested above 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.
Spinal muscular atrophy, often abbreviated to SMA, is a genetic disease which impacts the nerve cells connecting the brain and spinal cord to the body's muscles. Due to deterioration of the link between these nerves and muscles, physical activity becomes progressively difficult, as the muscles begin to weaken and shrink.
While the cause remains the same in each type of SMA, different classifications of the disease exist, according to age, symptoms and mobility of the sufferer, which are classified as follows:
- Type I SMA - This is the most common and severe form of the disease, which manifests itself during the first six months of an infant's life. In these cases, complications include severe muscle weakness, breathing problems and trouble swallowing. Due to the severity of type I SMA, also know as Werding-Hoffmann disease, sufferers rarely live past 2 years old.
- Type II SMA - This form of SMA is usually detected at a later stage than type I, usually between the ages of 7-18 months, and is often identified by failings to meet expected motor milestones. While type II does cause serious mobility issues, which will require the affected individuals to use a wheelchair, the majority of sufferers will enjoy long lives, without any additional impairments.
- Type III SMA - While this type is often diagnosed between the ages of 18 months and 3 years, it is possible that the condition will not be identified until the individual's teenage years, depending on the extent of their ability to walk independently. As they grow, individuals with type III SMA, otherwise known as Kugelberg-Welander disease, may find that their mobility becomes increasingly limited as they age.
- Type IV SMA - This is the most rare form of SMA, which manifests itself during adulthood, usually in individuals aged 35 or more. In these cases, the disease progresses very gradually, leading to mild motor impairment.
How is This Connected to Scoliosis?
Due to the impact of the condition on the muscles supporting the spine, almost all children with SMA will develop scoliosis. The progression of the spinal curvature depends on the severity of the SMA, and is decreased in cases where the patient is able to walk. For the most active individuals, with only a mild form of SMA , scoliosis does not have a huge impact on their mobility levels, nor does it deteriorate substantially over time.
As well as scoliosis, which refers to the sideways curvature of the spine, patients with SMA may also experience other forms of spinal curvature, such as hyperkyphosis and hyperlordosis
. These refer to the forward curvature of the spine, which affects the upper area in cases of hyperkyphosis, and the lower in cases of hyperlordosis.
Can Scoliosis SOS Help Patients With SMA?
Here at the Scoliosis SOS clinic, we have been treating scoliosis and related spinal conditions for over a decade
, using a combination of proven, non-surgical methods to construct highly-specific treatment programmes for our patients. Thanks to our thorough consultation and evaluation process, we are able to provide carefully tailored advice and treatment, which is personally customised to fit the needs of each patient's curvature and condition.
If you would like more information regarding treatment with Scoliosis SOS, and how this could help you manage the symptoms of your spinal condition, please get in touch with us today!
Earlier this year, we treated 17-year-old Francisco, who had been diagnosed with scoliosis and whose spine was displaying a 30-degree curve.
Francisco's scoliosis was first spotted by a physiotherapist he had been seeing after picking up a shoulder injury while playing tennis; he was sent to the hospital for an X-ray, and a week later, Francisco was diagnosed with a spinal curve of 23 degrees. He was fitted with a back brace in the hope that this would arrest the development of his scoliosis, but six months on, Francisco returned for a check-up and was informed that his spinal curve had progressed to 30 degrees.
Because Francisco's spinal curve was causing him pain and restricting him from taking part in his hobbies - such as tennis and ice hockey - he decided to get in touch with the Scoliosis SOS Clinic to enquire about our non-surgical treatment courses. A friend of his had already received treatment here a couple of years prior to his own diagnosis, and that friend strongly recommended the Clinic based on her own good experience with us.
Francisco completed a 4-week ScolioGold
treatment course, and this reduced his curve down to 18 degrees
. 18 months after starting his course, Francisco's back pain has gotten a lot better, and his posture has improved significantly. Best of all, after taking a forced break from tennis and ice hockey while wearing the back brace, he is now able to enjoy the sports he loves once again.
You can see Francisco's full account of his 30 degree scoliosis treatment in the video below.
- a sideways curvature of the spine - has been observed in human beings since the days of Ancient Greece (and probably much earlier). It has affected many notable people, and much has been written about it, although many aspects of the condition remain mysterious even today.
If you've been diagnosed with scoliosis and you're eager to learn more about the condition, here are 10 interesting facts for you to memorise and share with friends and family:
- The word 'scoliosis' is derived from the Ancient Greek word σκολίωσις (skoliosis), which literally meant 'a bend' or 'a twisting'.
- The first notable person to treat and write about scoliosis was Hippocrates, the Greek physician who is often referred to as 'the father of modern medicine'. He coined the name 'scoliosis', and he treated curved spines with extensions and stretches, performed using devices like the Hippocratic board, the Hippocratic ladder, and the Hippocratic bench.
- Many depictions of Alexander the Great show him looking up at an angle, as if he had a twisted spine. This has led some to theorise that Alexander - one of history's most prolific conquerors - may have suffered from scoliosis or a similar spinal curvature.
- Richard III, who was King of England from 1483 to 1485, famously had scoliosis, although modern imaging techniques suggest that Richard's condition was mild enough to be disguised with the right clothing.
- Scoliosis is significantly more common in females than in males. Adolescent females may be up to 10 times more likely to develop idiopathic scoliosis than their male peers.
- Usain Bolt has scoliosis - the Olympic gold medallist has said that the condition hampered his early career, but it obviously hasn't stopped him from succeeding more recently! Click here for more famous scoliosis sufferers.
- It's estimated that scoliosis affects roughly 3% of the population - that's well over 200 million people worldwide.
- Animals can suffer from scoliosis. The condition has been found to exist in dogs, cats, horses, fish, and a number of other creatures; interestingly, though, it has not been observed in chimpanzees or gorillas, in spite of the fact that both are members of the same taxonomic family as humans (Hominidae).
- Severe scoliosis may be treated using a surgical technique known as spinal fusion. This operation dates back to the 1900s, and notable people who have undergone spinal fusion surgery include Princess Eugenie, actress Elizabeth Taylor, Chinese-American cellist Yo Yo Ma, and actress/singer Vanessa Williams.
- A lot of exciting scoliosis research is currently being carried out using zebrafish as test subjects. In 2016 alone, zebrafish experiments linked the development of idiopathic scoliosis both to a specific gene and to the flow of fluid in the spinal column - both of these findings could have huge implications for scoliosis treatment in the future.
The Scoliosis SOS Clinic is located in London, England, and is an internationally-renowned provider of non-surgical treatment for scoliosis and other spinal conditions. Click here for more information, or contact Scoliosis SOS to arrange a consultation today.