Spine Straightening Exercises

The effects of scoliosis can be very detrimental to one's life. While some patients suffer only minor discomfort, others suffer from chronic pain. The curve of the spine is often the cause of this discomfort, leading to problems with the neck, shoulders, hips, and the back itself.

In order to combat this pain and discomfort, our own ScolioGold treatment method includes a wide variety of spine-straightening exercises. ScolioGold therapy has repeatedly proven capable of reducing the curve in the spine - see our results here.

If you do not want to undergo surgery for whatever reason, there are many exercises we can teach you to help with the effects of scoliosis. Here are some spine-straightening exercises that you can try at home:

Standing against the wall to straighten spine

Standing against a wall

The simple exercise can actually help improve your posture and build strength! All you need is a flat wall to stand against - here's what to do once you've found one:

  1. Stand with your head and shoulders pressed firmly against the wall behind you and place your feet approximately 20cm in front of you.
  2. Push your lower back towards the wall and hold this position for a few seconds.
  3. Take a few deep breaths and then breathe out as you relax. Repeat.

 

Planking exercise

Planking

Planking is a helpful spine-straightening exercise as it strengthens your core muscles whilst also targeting your lower back to help improve posture. Here's what you need to do:

  1. Lie on the floor on your front (use a mat to avoid slipping, as shown in the photo above).
  2. Hold yourself up using your forearms and toes and raise your whole body off the floor.
  3. Keeping your legs straight and your hips raised, place your shoulders directly above your elbows to create a straight line from head to toe.
  4. Hold this position for 5 seconds, then relax and repeat again several times.

 

Bird Dog Stretch

'Bird dog' stretches (leg/arm extensions)

This is another strengthening exercise. It is often performed with a gym ball (as shown in the photo above), but you can still do this exercise if you don't have one handy.

  1. Firstly, lie face-down on the ball and gradually extend your right arm whilst using your left arm to support you (same technique without the ball).
  2. While holding this position, gradually extend your left leg up behind you as shown below.

Spine straightening exercise on gym ball

3. Hold for a couple of seconds, then alternate to the opposite limbs. Repeat this alternating movement back and forth between right and left.

Interested in completing a full treatment course at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic? To book your consultation or request more information, please contact us today.

Exercise after Scoliosis Surgery

In a particularly severe case of scoliosis, surgery may be the only way to prevent the patient's spinal curvature from continuing to get worse. Spinal fusion surgery, while generally effective, is a major operation from which it typically takes months to fully recover.

After undergoing this type of surgery, it is often necessary to make some lifestyle changes in order to minimise your recovery time. For instance, bending, lifting and twisting should all be avoided in the weeks immediately following a spinal fusion procedure, as your spine and incision will need time to heal.

Later in the recovery process, you can start to consider your regular exercise routine. Many patients who undergo scoliosis surgery are able to maintain their usual lifestyle after the operation, but changes do sometimes need to be made to reduce pressure on the spinal area.

Can you exercise after scoliosis surgery?

Yes, you can, although the more important question is how long you ought to wait before exercising again. As mentioned above, heavy lifting, bending and twisting are all strictly off-limits to begin with; indeed, intense exercise of any sort is best avoided at this point. However, low-impact exercises - such as walking and swimming - will benefit both your health and the ongoing fusion process.

Before you can return to your usual sport and exercise habits, your skin will need to heal from the incision and your bones will need to fuse together again. This can take anywhere from 6-9 months. Your surgeon will be able to tell you when you're sufficiently healed, at which point you'll hopefully be able to ease back into more physically-demanding exercises and activities.

What exercises can you do after scoliosis surgery?

As a general rule, anything that puts too much pressure on your spine is best avoided after scoliosis surgery. Heavy weightlifting, high-impact sports like rugby, and exercises that involve your abs can all damage your spine again and should be removed from your exercise regime.

Exercises that involve flexion of the spine or neck, such as sit-ups and squats, can place pressure on the discs above and below the spinal fusion site. These should also be avoided as much as possible, although they can be replaced with more gentle stretching exercises.

It is best to swap high-intensity exercise for more frequent low-impact exercise after scoliosis surgery. Recommended post-surgery activities include:

  • Swimming
  • Gentle yoga
  • Bicycle rides
  • Elliptical machine training

In this way, you can still maintain an active lifestyle without fear of damaging your vertebrae, discs or spinal cord.

Here at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic, we believe that exercise is the best method for fighting spinal curvature. We treat both patients who are looking to avoid surgery and those who have already had a spinal fusion. Our non-surgical ScolioGold treatment courses combine stretches, exercises, and massages to reduce the angle of your spinal curve and improve your quality of life. Contact us now to arrange an initial consultation.

Worried that your scoliosis will prevent you from taking part in your favourite sport? Read about some of our sporty success stories here!

Exercise is important for scoliosis sufferers - in addition to being good for your overall health, the right kind of physical activity helps to strengthen the muscles that may have been weakened by the curvature of your spine. However, some exercises can have a negative, even dangerous impact on a scoliotic spine, and if you have scoliosis, it's good to know which stretches and exercises might do you more harm than good.
 
We at Scoliosis SOS have a lot of experience when it comes to treating scoliosis and other spinal conditions, and our physiotherapists understand exactly how a curved spine can be affected by different movements and extensions. Today, we'd like to highlight some exercises that scoliosis patients are better off avoiding.

Positions and exercises to avoid if you have scoliosis 

Lumber Hyper Extension

Lumbar Hyper-Extension

It's important to avoid any position which will exert excessive force to the lower back through extension. This will encourage compression of the lumbar spine, and is especially dangerous if you have an underlying spinal problem such as spondylolisthesis.
 
Thoracic Rotation

Uncontrolled Thoracic Rotation

You should avoid any prolonged positions where your upper trunk is rotated above your lower trunk as in the images above. This will apply inadvertent torsion and twisting forces to your spine - especially critical when looking at scoliotic rotation. 
 
Hyperflexion of the Neck

Hyperflexion of Neck

Positions such as the one shown above apply excessive strain to the small vertebrae in your neck; if you have scoliosis, this will also place increased weight and strain through the weaker parts of your spine, potentially causing your spinal curve to increase. 
 
Back Bend

Back Bends

Similar to hyperextension of the lower back (see above), this position will put undue stress and strain on your spine, and may cause your spinal curve to become even more severe.
 
If you want to learn more about which scoliosis exercises to avoid, or if you're interested in receiving treatment here at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Model Lily Crawford - Scoliosis SOS Patient

Scoliosis can have a serious impact on a patient’s confidence, especially if their cosmetic appearance means they cannot pursue their dreams. 

Lily's Story

Lily Crawford from Yeovil, Somerset was diagnosed with scoliosis when she was just ten years old. She had always had her heart set on becoming a model. However, with her spine drastically curving, Lily lost her confidence and started to hate her back and how it was making her feel. She had almost accepted that her condition was going to mean modelling was out of the question. In her head models were perfect and no agency would ever accept her with her spinal condition.

Lily’s mother was extremely concerned about her daughter’s health and how the condition was affecting her psychologically. It was then that she discovered Scoliosis SOS, a specialist clinic which helps people manage their spinal conditions non-surgically. Lily embarked on a life changing 4 week course at the centre, which significantly improved the cosmetic appearance of her back and enabled her to fully come to terms with her condition.

Scoliosis Article in Yeovil Express

Here at Scoliosis SOS we tailor our treatment to ensure the focus is placed on the symptoms of the condition that are the most important to the patient. In Lily’s case, she was not suffering from any pain and was desperate to reduce the asymmetries surrounding her shoulders and hips. Our exercises strengthen and stretch the muscles surrounding the spine which brings the patient into a corrected upright posture.  The exercises retrain the muscles so that they are able to support the patient in their new posture. This allows us to achieve fantastic improvements to patients' back shape and most importantly prevents further progression.

Click here to take a look at some of the positive changes our other patients have made to their spines or contact Scoliosis SOS to discuss treatment options for your back condition.
Dancer with scoliosis

Many of the patients we treat here at Scoliosis SOS are passionate about dancing and terrified at the thought that scoliosis could stop them from achieving their dreams. We have treated patients interested in just about every type of dance you could possibly think of; ballet, jazz, ballroom, tap, hop-hop and street to name but a few.

This is no coincidence as dancers are usually extremely body aware and scoliosis can have devastating implications for dedicated performers. It can cause significant muscular imbalance, together with impaired flexibility and cosmetic asymmetries; symptoms which are particularly highlighted in anyone with the condition who dances.

This lack of ability to perform at a high standard can often result in poor self-esteem, confidence issues and frustration.

Emily's Story

Emily Hollingsworth from Swindon came for treatment with us in desperate hope of resolving her postural asymmetries and lung capacity problems. Emily hoped to find a way of managing her condition and yearned to rebuild the confidence she had lost since her diagnosis. After finding Scoliosis SOS and discovering ScolioGold therapy Emily was thrilled to learn that she would be prescribed exercises to self-manage her symptoms.

Emily booked onto a four-week course of ScolioGold therapy and was able to achieve a 2.5cm increase in height, alongside a reduction in the rotation of her spine. Emily’s confidence has soared following treatment and she now feels confident in her ability to dance at a high standard and has even said she would be happy to wear a bikini again.

Emily chose to do 4 weeks in one block; however it is possible to split the course into 2 blocks of 2 weeks and research suggests there is no difference in results as long as the full course is completed within 6 months.

Often cosmetic appearance can be a huge motivational factor for young girls to find an effective spinal treatment. If this can be achieved through exercise, rather than spinal fusion surgery then this is an added bonus, especially for dancers looking to retain their flexibility.

All Emily’s exercises were specifically tailored to her back and she was given ongoing support to continue her regime at home.

Dramatic results are often achieved within a 4-week course; however, progress can continue to be gained throughout a patient’s life.

Contact Scoliosis SOS today to find out how our non-surgical treatment courses may be able to help you.

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