Scoliosis, an unpleasant condition in which the spine is curved, affects approximately one in 100 people.
If you have scoliosis, you may have had spinal fusion to join disconnected vertebrae. This type of surgery may leave you feeling restricted in your movements and afraid to exercise. Although certain exercises should be avoided (such as twisting exercises, jumping and heavyweight lifting), working on your flexibility can help you gain mobility, which in turn will help you ease the daily pains.
Stretches can relieve tension and ease some of the irritation caused by curvature of the spine. Flexibility training is critical, especially in creating awareness of the imbalances throughout your body.
Once you determine which part and/or side of your body lacks elasticity, you can focus on these areas to alleviate your discomfort. When you improve your muscle elasticity, you will also increase your range of motion.
Scoliosis stretching is most beneficial when done on a regular basis, as it increases blood flow, producing lubrication to the joints, which are surrounded by muscle.
Here are some scoliosis stretches you can do a few times a week. As the stretches become more comfortable, progress up to five times a week. Begin by holding each stretch for a minimum of 30 seconds, then gradually increasing the time spent on each stretch. Repeat each stretch two to three times.
Right-Angle Wall Stretch
Place your hands on a wall (shoulder-width apart at shoulder level) and walk your feet back, placing them hip-width apart under your hips. Push your palms into the wall and lengthen your spine. Do not bend your arms, and keep your lower back tucked in. If you are more flexible, you can bring your hands to hip level and create a right angle.
Start by kneeling, then pushing your hips back so that they are close to your heels. Reach your arms forward and place your hands flat on the floor.
Sit with your legs crossed and your back against a wall. Hold a small ball or a rolled-up towel between your hands. Bring the towel or ball overhead and stretch upward, keeping your elbows to the wall as you do so.
Sit near the edge of a chair, feet wider than hip-width apart. Bend forward, grasping your elbows with opposite hands until the crown of your head faces the floor. Slowly allow your spine to stretch out forward and hang. Take in deep breaths as the stretch expands slowly.
Get on the floor on all fours with your knees under your hips and your hands directly under your shoulders. Space your fingers wide apart and face forward. As you exhale, contract your abdomen to push your stomach towards your spine, curving your back toward the ceiling.
If any of these stretches aggravates your condition, stop the stretch. Always remember to consult your physician.
The more consistent you become with your scoliosis stretches, the sooner you can manage your pain by keeping your muscles more relaxed.
Although scoliosis can be painful, it doesn’t have to keep you from living your life. Learn how tennis star James Blake overcame scoliosis. Check out STACK’s Yoga section for more stretches you can perform.
Sources: bodybuilding.com , scoliosis.org
Photos: texashealth.org, elenaphotographer.com, nzgirl.co, reverseosteoporosis.com