Physical training is essential to improve scoliosis. How Yoga for Scoliosis classes with curve specific scoliosis exercises can help.
by Jane DoCampo, C-IAYT
I read so often in scoliosis forums and support groups about people who have undergone bracing or surgery to treat their scoliosis, but next to nothing about the importance of training the body to improve itself alongside these treatments. I find that many people who have tried a brace or surgery to correct their scoliosis still experience pain and discomfort. I feel very strongly that every doctor or physical therapist who treats someone with scoliosis should encourage them to practice curve specific exercises. Just as we learn a job, a sport, an instrument, or any other skill, a person with scoliosis needs to:
Learn essential skills to improve awareness, coordination, and proprioception, and to build strength.
Yoga for Scoliosis with curve specific training can help people with scoliosis to relieve pain and improve body posture in the long term. It is crucial to:
1. Move the curve in and move the concavity out
Your skilled Yoga for Scoliosis teacher can bring your attention to the location of your curves and give you exercises to contract and build strength in muscles that are over-lengthened, fatigued, and weakened around the curve. Different exercises will expand and build strength in muscles on your concave side that are shortened, underutilized, and also weak. This way, you can develop enough strength to restrain the progression of your scoliotic pattern and begin to reverse it while relieving aggravated muscles.
2. Elongate to decompress the spine
Besides working with your lateral curves, you can learn actions to move out of hyper-kyphosis or hyper-lordosis, which are compressive in either the front or back of the spine, and build enough strength and knowledge to maintain a more neutral lengthened spine. These interventions can reduce muscle strain, the entrapment of nerves, wear and tear on joints (and remember the spine is a series of joints), and improve organ function.
3. Recognize how the rotation of your spine is affecting your whole body
Scoliosis can create pain and wear and tear in the neck, shoulders, back, chest, pelvis, knees, and feet. Learn to de-rotate the spine and train your musculature to support better positioning from head to toe to find relief.
4. Empower yourself with the right tools
Yoga for Scoliosis classes teach you life long skills which, with consistent effort and correct action, can be applied to all your activities to improve your quality of life.
Braces and surgery are passive treatments and will not teach your body how to address the underlying momentum of scoliosis—a lifelong condition. Braces and surgery should always be paired with appropriate training of the body and mind—Yoga for Scoliosis can help!
Jane DoCampo, C-IAYT, is the co-owner of My Back and Body Clinic in Woodcliff Lake, NJ www.MyBackandBodyClinic.com where she offers private sessions and small group backcare classes to improve scoliosis, herniation and back pain. She is certified to teach backcare and wall ropes classes by Alison West of Yoga Union Backcare, Scoliosis and Therapy Center, NYC where she is also a member of the teaching faculty.
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