Weight scales and tape measure

Maintaining a healthy weight can be a tough task for people with scoliosis, especially those who find themselves in perpetual pain and discomfort as a result of their condition.

Chronic back pain can slam the brakes on physical activity - even when the mind is willing, you may feel physically unable to get up and exercise, and this can take its toll on your overall fitness.

But that doesn't mean you have to throw the towel in and resign yourself to a life of inactivity. Luckily, there are a whole host of ways for scoliosis patients to stay healthy and keep weight gain at bay.

 

Exercise caution

While it might seem like exercising with scoliosis is putting yourself on the fast track to a bad back, it can actually have the opposite effect - as long as you're careful.

Staying active can be beneficial for your body in a number of ways, helping you stay slim and trim while also keeping your body limber and flexible.

Being smart about the exercises you choose can make a huge difference, so be sure to exercise caution before you exercise your body.

In the weight room, heavy deadlifts are obviously not a good choice for someone with spinal issues. The same goes for other back-heavy exercises, like good-mornings and power cleans. Meanwhile, lower-body exercises like squats and lunges can also put indirect pressure on your spine.

Exercises to Avoid If You Have Scoliosis >>

Even some yoga positions, such as the cobra pose, can cause your vertebrae to rotate beyond the point of comfort. Be smart and avoid exercises that are likely to put considerable strain on your spine.

Strengthening your core can be a great way to alleviate discomfort, while regular stretching can also help to reduce back pain.

 

Young at heart

Running can put a lot of stress on the spine, jarring the body every time your feet hit the ground. As such, going out for a jog or hitting the treadmill may be a bad idea - but that doesn't mean cardio is completely off the table.

Most gyms have elliptical trainers (cross trainers) that allow you to exercise in a fluid motion without the jarring effect of running. Similarly, the stair climber is also a good way to get your cardio fix while reducing the impact on your spine.

Another great way to maintain and improve cardiovascular fitness with scoliosis is swimming. The buoyancy of the water minimises impact on the joints while still providing resistance, making it the ideal cardio exercise for scoliosis sufferers.

Swimming with Scoliosis >>

That being said, these exercises can be challenging for people with severe scoliosis, particularly those with reduced lung capacity. If you are unable to complete the above exercises, it may be worth considering less strenuous options, such as walking or aqua aerobics.

 

Smoke signals

If you're a smoker, another great way to stay in shape is to - you guessed it - give up smoking.

Quitting smoking can help improve lung capacity by as much as 10% within nine months, and this can help considerably when it comes to exercise. Qutting will also improve your circulation, providing additional energy and reducing fatigue.

However, quitting smoking isn't without its challenges. In addition to being a notoriously hard habit to break, it can also lead to some initial weight gain.

This is due to the fact that smoking suppresses your appetite and speeds up your metabolism. Meanwhile, it can be tempting to use food as a replacement for cigarettes - many ex-smokers find themselves snacking to fill the void.

That being said, while you may gain weight at first, giving up smoking will pay dividends in the long run - both in the gym and from a pain standpoint. A 1999 study by the Division of Clinical Epidemiology at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Montreal found that smoking can exacerbate back pain, particularly in scoliosis sufferers. All the more reason to bin the cigs!

 

You are what you eat

Finally, and perhaps most obviously, diet plays a huge role in weight management. Even with plenty of exercise, you can't out-train a bad diet - so be sensible when it comes to junk food and unhealthy snacks.

If your scoliosis is severe and limits your ability to exercise, a healthy diet is vital in maintaining a healthy weight. Removing exercise from the equation puts you at a disadvantage to begin with, making a healthy diet all the more important.

What's more, certain foods are beneficial for reducing scoliosis symptoms, while others can only amplify those symptoms. Food and drinks that are rich in salt, sugar or caffeine can have a negative effect on calcium absorption, while alcohol can also contribute to poor bone density.

Avoid foods rich in additives, such as ready meals and fast food. Meanwhile, try to limit your consumption of soft drinks, tea, coffee and alcohol. Eating organic meals and fresh fruit and veg will give your body a fighting chance of fat loss, while also giving you a simultaneous boost in the bone department.

Best Diet for Scoliosis >>

If you would like to explore the possibility of non-surgical treatment for your scoliosis, please contact the Scoliosis SOS Clinic to arrange a consultation.

Lots of Scoliosis SOS patients ask us the same question:

What will I need to do after my treatment to continue seeing results?

The typical length of a ScolioGold treatment course is 4 weeks, and while our patients routinely see significant improvements within this short time, it is the long-term results that they (and we) are most concerned with!

During those 4 weeks of treatment, we teach every patient a set of exercises and stretches that will help them to continue their treatment independently when they get home. Each patient leaves our clinic with a daily exercise plan that's tailored to their condition and long-term goals.

To give you a better idea of what those daily exercise routines contain, we spoke to Eleanor - who started ScolioGold treatment back in 2016 - and asked her a few questions about her daily exercise routine and how her scoliosis has been since she left the clinic.

Scoliosis SOS patient Eleanor

Hi Eleanor! How did your initial ScolioGold treatment course help you?

I started treatment 3 years ago, when I was 12 years old. My consultant had told me that I needed to have surgery on my back because my curve was progressing, but my mum researched other options on the Internet and found the Scoliosis SOS Clinic. I did a 4-week course during my summer school holidays, and within a couple of days of starting treatment, my parents noticed that I was standing taller and straighter. By the time I finished treatment a month later, I had grown 3cm!

The main thing it has helped with is my self-confidence; I no longer feel ashamed of my back or have to hide under baggy jumpers. The best part was when we saw the consultant for a check-up appointment he said that I was no longer a candidate for surgery.

 

How often have you come back to the clinic since then?

I usually come back to see my therapist Charlie every 3 months, but once I have finished growing this will change to every 6 months. I grew a lot last year, so at Christmas, I did a refresher week where I learnt a few more advanced exercises and joined a couple of the group therapy sessions too.

 

What exercises do you do at home?

At my appointments, Charlie gives me a new exercise schedule that tells me what I have to do on each day. It's nice to have a change, and it keeps me motivated when I go back home. Each day includes 3 specific exercises and a couple of stretches. My favourite is side-lying with a pole as I can really feel my muscles working when I do it and it always makes me feel straighter afterwards.

Some of the other things I do are: muscular cylinder, prone on stool, semi-hanging, PNF Pacquet and ASC.

 

How often do you do scoliosis exercises at home?

As I am still growing, I have to do 45 minutes of exercise each day.

 

Are the continued exercises helping you to manage your condition?

I have been discharged from the hospital, but the measurements and scans Charlie does at my check-ups show that my condition is stable and it improved a bit more after I did the refresher week.

 

If you're suffering from scoliosis, we can provide an entirely exercise-based treatment course that will help you to manage your condition independently. To enquire about our treatment courses, give us a call on 0207 488 4428 or use the links below.

View Treatment Dates   Book a Consultation

Woman jogging in the sunset

Celebrating the benefits of an active lifestyle, National Fitness Day takes place annually to help promote the benefits of physical fitness.

National Fitness Day 2019 falls on Wednesday 25 September. People across the UK will be encouraged to get active and commit to get fit in pursuit of healthier lives.

Organised by UK Active, this event aims to highlight the importance of keeping fit and staying active, regardless of your age and ability.

 

Staying fit with scoliosis

People with scoliosis sometimes find it difficult to take part in sports and other forms of strenuous exercise.

But scoliosis doesn’t have to dictate how you live your life, and it needn't stop you from participating in activities you enjoy.

It's a somewhat common misconception that sporting activity can make scoliosis worse. This myth has been debunked by medical professionals.

In fact, some sports can actually help to boost your flexibility and strengthen your core - particularly swimming, cycling and even football.

 

Usain Bolt has scoliosis!

For proof that people with scoliosis can achieve sporting glory, look no further than Olympic sprinter Usain Bolt.

Despite being born with scoliosis, the Jamaican youngster with the spinal curve never let it hamper his dreams, defying the odds to become one of the most celebrated Olympians in history.

Bolt overcame his spinal curvature and became known as the fastest man on Earth, shattering records in the 100m, 200m and 4 x 100m relay (and winning countless medals along the way).

 

Success stories from Scoliosis SOS

But Usain Bolt isn't the only scoliosis sufferer who's made his sporting dreams a reality. In fact, many of the patients we've treated here at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic have managed to triumph over adversity and remain active despite their spinal issues.

Through their dedication and hard work, these people have been able to overcome the pain of scoliosis with the help of our non-surgical treatment courses, allowing them to continue to participate in the activities they love.

View some of our sporty success stories >

If you're struggling with scoliosis and you'd like to book a consultation with the Scoliosis SOS Clinic, please contact us today.

Exercises on holiday

Consistency is key, especially when it comes to your scoliosis exercises. When you come to the Scoliosis SOS Clinic for a treatment course, our ScolioGold therapists will teach you a set of therapeutic exercises that you'll need to complete every day once you've left us. This will help you to stay on top of your condition and continue reducing your Cobb angle measurement as time goes on.

Now, performing those exercises at home is one thing, but some of our patients find it difficult to keep up with their scoliosis stretches when they go on holiday. Reasons vary, but perhaps the most common problem is packing - it often isn't possible to fit all the necessary equipment in a suitcase.

But that doesn't mean you have to neglect your exercise routine while you're away!

 

Ellie's holiday scoliosis exercises

19-year-old Eleanor Ham is one of our past patients, and she understands the importance of consistently completing her scoliosis exercises, regardless of where she is.

As you can see in the video below, Ellie recently took a trip abroad, where she recorded herself completing a selection of stretches right where she was staying. In addition to demonstrating how easy it can be to complete your scoliosis exercises while on holiday, Ellie also provides a great example of how you can use common household objects as substitutes for any exercise equipment you've had to leave at home.

If you've been diagnosed with scoliosis, use the links below to get in touch with the Scoliosis SOS Clinic and find out how we can help you!

Contact Scoliosis SOS >   More Scoliosis Exercises >

Disclaimer: The information and video on this page should not be treated as medical advice. 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 viewer's sole discretion and risk. Scoliosis SOS accepts no responsibility or liability for any loss or injuries caused directly or indirectly through performing any of the exercises described here. 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.

Some time ago, we shared a series of stretches for scoliosis sufferers to perform in order to improve strength and balance while also relieving some of the aches and pains that a spinal curvature can cause.

While performing a few exercises at home is no substitute for attending a full ScolioGold treatment course here at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic, we know that these stretches can be very beneficial in their own right, and so we'd like to share a few more suggestions today. As before, please note that performing these stretches does not mean you shouldn't also seek professional treatment for your scoliosis. They are designed to complement, not replace, other treatment methods.

Wall Stretch

Wall stretch

  1. Find a flat wall that you can stand against. (You can also use the floor if there's no available wall space.)

  2. Stand with your back to the wall and your feet slightly in front of you.

  3. Press your head/shoulders back so they're firmly against the wall.

  4. Push your lower back towards the wall. Try to touch the wall if you can (but don't strain too hard).

  5. Hold this position while you take three deep breaths in and out.

  6. Relax and repeat five times.

Watch a Video of This Stretch >

 

Doorway Stretch

Doorway stretch

  1. Stand in a doorway.

  2. Place one arm on the doorframe so that it's pointing upwards (your elbow should be bent to a 90° angle, and your upper arm should be roughly in line with your shoulder).

  3. Step forward with one leg (on the same side as your raised arm).

  4. Keeping your arm pressed against the doorframe and lean forward slightly. You should feel the stretch in your pectoral (chest) area.

  5. Hold this position for 30 seconds, then relax and repeat two more times.

  6. Finally, turn around and repeat steps 1-5 with the other side of your body.

Watch a Video of This Stretch >

 

Desk Stretch

Desk stretch

  1. Sit in a sturdy chair in front of a desk.

  2. Place your feet flat on the floor so that your knees are bent to a 90° angle.

  3. Place your arms under your desk with your palms down (so that the backs of your hands are touching the underside of the desk).

  4. Gently push upwards with your hands and forearms so that they're pressed against the underside of the desk.

  5. At the same time, stretch your upper back and allow your pelvis to rock forward slightly.

  6. Tuck in your chin so that you feel the stretch in your neck as well as your upper back.

  7. Hold this position for 30 seconds, then repeat twice.

Click here for more scoliosis exercises, or contact Scoliosis SOS today to arrange a consultation with Scoliosis SOS.

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