Numerous exercises intended for treating mild scoliosis are designed to correct muscle imbalances on either side of the spine. This while keeping the spine and surrounding muscles flexible.
The prescribed combination is often a mix of both flexibility and strengthening exercises. Common scoliosis exercises can be varied to fit the particular physical condition of each patient.
The exercises listed assume the statistically most common curve direction.
Exercises for stretching and correcting the spine:
Side bend stretches. The first, and most commonly prescribed exercise is designed to spread the spine vertebrae where the curvature is most pronounced in the center. The exercise is performed by standing straight, arms down. Reaching up with the left arm above your head, bend to the right, arm still extended. Hold the movement for several seconds and return to start.
This is a stretching exercise designed to add mobility to the spinal column that may be somewhat impinged by the condition.
Do complete sets per side for six to twelve repetitions.
The second movement is to correct the middle rotation by twisting the right shoulder toward the left side. This is done with your right arm placed across the middle of your body, hand pointed toward the left. Hold the movement for several seconds and return to start. This serves to offset the effects of the unnatural rotation and bend in the middle of the spine.
Next, use the hand and arm position of the first two movements simultaneously. From a standing position, bend forward and backward keeping your hands and arms in position.
For a final scoliosis stretching exercise, lying flat on your back pull your knees up to your chest grasping them with both your hands. Pull them as close to your chest as possible. Return to the starting position. Repeat for six to twelve repetitions in a single set. (The link goes to another page that has the exercise illustrated.)
To increase back strength and muscle balance around the spine:
1. With a balance ball lie face down with your body on the ball at your hip level. Your feet should be on the floor behind you balanced on your toes. Raise your right arm straight out. At the same time raise your left leg up. Hold for a count of three, and alternate sides. Do eight to ten repetitions on each side for one complete set.
2. Lying reverse back bends. Lying face down on a flat surface hands on your hips, raise your upper body up at the waist as far as possible. Hold for a count of two and return to the starting position.
Weight bearing exercises for mild scoliosis:
I continue to emphasize the level of the condition. It must be noted that no one should undertake self treatment for diagnosed scoliosis unless prescribed specifically by a doctor. This becomes more important the more intense and difficult exercise becomes.
Weight bearing exercises for mild scoliosis should, like the calisthenics, concentrate on a balance of flexibility and strength.
Dumbbell bent rows. This is done from a bent position, bending at the waist with the upper body at a slight upward angle. With a light dumbbell in each hand, pull them up, bending the elbows, to the to maximum height. Return to arms length to complete one repetition. Perform six to ten repetitions for one complete set.
If there is weakness in the lower back, bent rows may be done one handed with one hand braced on a bench or chair.
Stiff leg dumbbell deadlifts: Bend at the waist, legs straight, grasping a dumbbell in each hand. Keeping the arms at full length, raise up at the waist to a full standing position. Return to the starting position touching the dumbbells back to the floor. Repeat that movement six to ten times for one set.
When reaching the standing position in each rep, bend slightly backward pulling the shoulder blades toward each other before returning the dumbbells to the floor.
Again, if there is a higher level of severity or weakness in your lower back, do not do the weight bearing exercises without your doctor’s clearance.
These exercises individually and used in combinations will provide both strength and flexibility for treatment.