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5 Best Exercises for Scoliosis

Scoliosis is characterized by an S or C-shaped curve in your back and is often accompanied by a significant amount of pain. For most, scoliosis develops in childhood, but can also develop in your later years through injury, continuous muscle strain, or even failed surgery.

While surgery is the top choice for most people, there are some strategies you can use to improve the symptoms of scoliosis. One of the most important and successful strategies is exercising. By doing some simple exercise, your back may begin to realign and the symptoms of your scoliosis will decrease.

Read on to find out about 5 exercises for scoliosis, how to do them correctly, and how they can help your pain symptoms.

1. Upward and Downward Dog

Get into a prone plank position with your arms straight, and then push your hips back and up as far as possible. Hold this for 2 seconds, and then lower your hips down to the floor without causing discomfort. Make sure to do this exercise over 3 sets of about 5 to 10 reps.

Upward and Downward Dog are standard back stretching exercises. They allow for your spine to line up straight and can be useful in improving your posture. The movement between upward and downward dog allows for added flexibility.

If you feel discomfort or pain, you may be stretching the muscles in your back too much. Be sure to limit how far you push yourself when doing this exercise, especially when you first start.

2. Back Stretch

In terms of simplicity, this back stretch is the premium. All you really have to do is stand up straight with your arms stretched out in front of your chest. Once you do that, be sure to lace your fingers together as if you’re cracking your knuckles, and push out.

The simplicity of this exercise does not change how much it helps you. The key to this exercise is to hold it as much as possible without it causing you too much pain. This will also allow for your back muscles to extend further in order to balance out your posture and reduce the pain you feel.

3. Overhead Stretch

If you want to go back to your childhood days, the overhead stretch is a terrific way to do that. All you’ll need to do is sit legs crossed against a wall. When you do that, take a ball or rolled up towel and lift it slowly above your head. Be sure to keep your elbows up against the wall in order to keep your posture set.

The key to this stretch is working against gravity to make your muscles do the work. When your muscles get this workout done, the added resistance provided by gravity will make your muscles stronger as well as more flexible, in order to make the stretching easier and to make yourself feel better.

If you’re up for a challenge, add a small amount of weight to this workout. If you want to lift dumbbells or other weighted items, your muscles will grow stronger while also being more flexible. Be careful not to add too much, though, because your muscles may become too strained or you can risk additional injury to yourself.

4. Swimming

While most sports, especially contact sports, are strongly advised against when you have scoliosis, not all sports are out of line. Swimming, for example, can be a great activity for you to take on even with scoliosis. Whether you’re swimming for pleasure or looking to become the next Michael Phelps, it’s an amazing activity to pursue.

Swimming is a great sport that promotes flexibility throughout the entire body, but some strokes can target flexibility in your back. The backstroke, for example, makes it so that all your muscle movements are well balanced and everything is equally stretched out. On top of that, the near-weightless environment makes it so that your body is not susceptible to the dangers that impact exercises, like running, may have.

There are some dangers to too much swimming, though. If you suffer from thoracic scoliosis, swimming laps in the pool for hours on end can raise your risk of having your spine flatten, which will cause even more pain and long-term trouble in general.

If you’re a competitive person and are looking for a sport to do that will not cause you too much direct pain, swimming is one of many great exercises for scoliosis that has all-around health benefits, not just directly dealing with scoliosis.

5. Yoga

Yoga, and all of the stretching that goes with it, is a great way to deal with scoliosis pain. There are several yoga poses that will allow people with scoliosis to breathe more effectively, develop core strength, and make their back muscles more flexible so as to deal with the pain of scoliosis.

There are both good and bad stretches for people with scoliosis. Good stretches include the Mountain Pose, Tree Pose, and Cat Pose. These stretches all help with balance and posture while not pushing the back too hard.

Unfortunately, there are many stretches that can cause further damage to people with scoliosis. Stretches such as the shoulder stand or bending the rib cage can cause curves to worsen and add unnecessary strain to the back muscles, potentially making them weaker.

If you are looking to use yoga as a way to alleviate scoliosis pain, be careful about which stretches you do, and what muscle areas you are focusing on.

The Best Exercises for Scoliosis

If you are one of many people living with scoliosis, adding some basic exercises for scoliosis or stretching into your daily routine can make a big difference. It can reduce the pain you feel, improve your posture, and generally make your scoliosis more manageable.

If you believe that your scoliosis needs more help than just some simple exercises, you may want to check out our website. Our doctors can help refer you to an organized exercise program, or even corrective surgery when necessary.

Can scoliosis be cured

Can Scoliosis be Cured?

The transition between our early childhood and teenage years is a complicated weave of emotions, hormones, and life transitions. Yet that period can be far more stressful when combined with scoliosis.

A condition most often diagnosed during the puberty stage of one’s life, scoliosis can range from mild to severe. Left untreated, it can impact your posture and even endanger your health.

But what is it, exactly?

More importantly, can scoliosis be cured?

What is Scoliosis?

Scoliosis is a condition where the spine curves as it grows. It affects both the neurological and the muscular systems. This curve can either form in a “C” shape or back and forth like an “S”.

There are four different types of scoliosis:

  • Idiopathic Scoliosis, which has no known origin
  • Neuromuscular Scoliosis, which is caused by neuromuscular disorders
  • Congenital Scoliosis, which is a rare genetic defect
  • Degenerative Scoliosis, which develops in older adults

Most patients start to see symptoms of this abnormality between the ages of 10 and 14. This is because your body is growing and developing. Typically, you’ll see the most impact of your scoliosis during these formative years, but it can progress even after your teens.

This condition can occur in both male and female patients. However, it is more common amidst women.

What are the Symptoms of Scoliosis?

There are various signs of scoliosis. Some of them you can feel, while others you can see with the naked eye or on a medical scan. The most common include:

Seemingly Ill-fitting Clothes

Sometimes the symptom is as subtle as looking in the mirror and noticing your clothes don’t fit right.

You squint at your reflection, wondering why your shirt looks tighter in some areas than others, or why the edge of your shirt looks uneven compared to the opposite side.

This is caused by the tilt of your frame due to your spine’s curvature.

An Asymmetrical Back

Perhaps you are wearing a tank top or bathing suit when you, a friend, or family member notices your shoulders or back appear asymmetrical. This is another indicator of scoliosis.

A Change in Gait

Have you noticed yourself having trouble walking? Maybe your legs can’t seem to find the proper rhythm or one feels longer than the other. Scoliosis’ impact on your spin can misalign your hips, causing you to walk differently than normal.

You may even find yourself growing more fatigued since your body has to work harder to maintain balance.

A Noticeable Decrease in Range of Motion

As the spine begins to curve, it reduces its flexibility. Patients find it harder to bend their torso front to back or side to side.

An Increase in Back Pain

In severe cases of scoliosis, the curvature can lead to painful muscle spasms in the back, as well as deterioration of various discs and joints due to the strain.

Dangerous Levels of Pressure on Internal Organs

Scoliosis doesn’t just impact your skeletal frame. The sharp twists and angles can also cause pressure on your lungs and heart, hampering their function and creating hazardous health problems.

What are the Causes of Scoliosis?

While some cases of scoliosis may be caused by neuromuscular conditions like genetic defects, muscular dystrophy, or cerebral palsy, most cases have no defined cause.

Doctors have identified age, genetics, and sex as factors that play a role in how high a patient’s risk factor is in developing scoliosis. While most scoliosis patients have no prior history of it in their family, those whose family members have developed this condition are at a higher risk of doing so themselves.

Most cases develop during puberty, so young adults are less likely to receive scoliosis as a diagnosis. However, elderly adults may develop degenerative scoliosis after the age of 65.

Women are more likely to have this condition than men, but why it occurs still remains a mystery in most cases.

Can Scoliosis Be Cured?

While there is no cure for scoliosis, there are multiple scoliosis treatment options available on a case-by-case basis. First, a doctor must diagnose a patient’s scoliosis as well as his or her degree of severity.

This is done through imaging tests in order to identify the shape of your spine, as well as any underlying causes, such as an injury or the growth of a tumor.

For mild cases, your doctor may simply suggest monitoring your scoliosis, especially during your teen years. Since your body grows so rapidly during this period, your scoliosis also evolves rapidly.

If this is the case for you, your doctor will expect to schedule an appointment about once every six months.

Left unattended, scoliosis can damage the heart and lungs, cause severe back problems, and misalign your skeleton. If the scoliosis is severe then your doctor may require medical intervention.

This could include a brace or even surgery to help slow or reduce your spine’s curve. A brace is typically worn during a patient’s pubescent period in order to guide the spine into better alignment as it grows. This brace isn’t required after your bones have finished their growth period.

If surgery is required, this is typically done through a spinal fusion or installation of a metal rod. Although similar, these two forms of surgery implement a different approach to spinal realignment.

Spinal fusion uses small rods, wires, or other metal pieces to fuse certain vertebrae together. While this stiffens the back, it can improve the overall alignment.

The rod installation is a larger piece of hardware that is adjusted as the patient grows. Like the check-up appointments, these adjustments are made approximately once every six months.

Do You Think You Might Have Scoliosis?

While the answer to “Can scoliosis be cured?” may not be the one you were looking for, the good news is that there are many treatment options. If caught early enough, most patients can go on to lead normal, healthy, happy lives.

If you or a loved one are experiencing symptoms of scoliosis, contact your doctor. Patients in Hackettstown and Newton, New Jersey can book an appointment with our spinal surgery office without ever leaving their computer chair.

Can scoliosis cause chronic back pain?

The spine is made up of a stacked alternating vertebral bodies and disks.  The spine is usually straight on anterior posterior x-ray.  Scoliosis is an abnormal curvature of the spine.  The spine may look like a C or S on X-ray. Scoliosis may arise from birth abnormalities where the spine was formed wrong, such as missing half of a vertebrae or from changes resulting from arthritis.  The cause of scoliosis in young people is unknown and is called idopathic even though certain genetic traits have been defined.

Children are commonly screened at school for scoliosis, especially at the time of the growth spurt when the development and progression is most common.  Patients suspected of having scoliosis undergo a history and physical and relevant laboratory investigations.  This may include x-rays, serial x-rays, CT and MRI.  Patients found to have a spinal curvature of greater than 10 degrees are diagnosed as scoliosis.

Scoliosis alters the mechanics of the back and puts significant strain on the vertebral bodies, disks, muscles and even the nerves leading to chronic pain and suffering.

Treatment is complex and requires individualization.  Smaller curvatures are watched while larger curvatures greater then 20 to 30 degrees may require bracing. Surgery is usually reserved for very large curvatures greater then 45 to 50 degrees which have high likelihood to progress even more.  Other indications for surgery include pain, weakness, difficult mobilizing and breathing.  Surgery usually involves spinal fusion surgery, this may be done through the front (anterior), side (lateral) or back (posterior) combined with spinal instrumentation (screws and rods).

Overall prognosis of scoliosis depends on the likelihood to progress.  Patients with larger curvatures, thoracic curves, double curves and immature spines (such as adolescents) have higher chance or progressing.


Dr Spivak is a neurosurgeon who specialized in minimally invasive endoscopic spine surgery.  He is a well known teacher and speaker in laser spine surgery.  For more information on scoliosis, other spinal disorders or laser spine surgery please call 908-452-5612 or click schedule-an-appointment.

Is there a link between strength and the development of scoliosis?

Scoliosis is the curvature of the spine.  Scoliosis may result from juvenile scoliosis in kids (unknown cause), spine, arthritis, neurologic disease, surgery, injury, etc.  Neurologic disease such as a spine tumor may cause back muscle weakness resulting in scoliosis. Scoliosis is not caused from being out of shape or not working out at the gym (that is being weak).  I hope this information answers your question.

For more information please click on Does scoliosis cause pain?  Good luck!

What happens if scoliosis goes untreated?

Scoliosis is an abnormal curvature of the spine. This usually involves the thoracic and lumbar spine.  When the spine is viewed from behind the patient the spine may look “C” or “S” shaped.  It can also cause a hunch back called kyphosis.

Treatment of scoliosis depends on the age of the patient, the severity of the scoliosis and types of problems it is causing. Children are watched annually for scoliosis during their growth spurt. If the scoliosis is treated early with a brace sometimes future surgery can be prevented. If scoliosis becomes severe it can cause pain, numbness and weakness and affect the posture, walking, lungs, heart and gut function. People with significant scoliosis should be closely monitored by spine surgeon. Good Luck!

Does scoliosis cause pain?

Yes scoliosis can cause pain.  Please read on for more information about scoliosis.

The spine is made up of  column of vertebrae separated by disks which form 3 gentle alternating curves in the cervical, thoracic and lumbar spine when viewed from the side of the person.  The spine should not have any curves or rotation when viewed from behind.

A “C” or “S” shaped curve viewed from behind the patient is called scoliosis. This is an abnormal curvature of the spine.  There are many causes of scoliosis, for example you may have been born with abnormal spine bones producing the abnormal spine shape (congenital), it may develop during growth spurt (idiopathic), from neurological disease (neurological), injury (traumatic), cancer or arthritis (degenerative), etc.   Scoliosis can cause pain and usually the pain and neurological dysfunction (such as numbness, weakness, difficulty walking and bowel and bladder dysfunction) is related to the severity of the scoliosis.  That is the more severe the scoliosis the more pain and dysfunction the patient may have.  Severe scoliosis may interfere with basic functions such as breathing, walking and activities of daily living.

Patients with scoliosis should see a spine surgeon to determine the best treatment.  For more information please contact Executive Spine Surgery.  Good Luck

What kinds of congenital disorders cause scoliosis in infants?

Scoliosis in infants may occur when there spine was not formed correctly.  This most commonly happens when one side of the side grows while the other side does not.  This can happen in a condition called HEMIVERTEBRAE when one side of the spine does not exist or UNILATERAL BAR when multiple vertebrae are fused together on one side.  In both cases the normal side grows while the abnormal side does not (or grows less) forming a curve.  I hope this information helps.  Good Luck!

Does scoliosis cause other health problems?

If scoliosis is severe it can affect your heart, lungs, gut, spinal cord and nerves producing a large range of problems from difficulty breathing to difficulty walking.  Fortunately this is not common.  Many cases of scoliosis respond to conservative treatment (such as bracing) and do not require surgery.  Please see my blog posting Does scoliosis cause pain? For more information please contact Dr. Carl Spivak at Executive Spine Surgery.  Good Luck!

CLEAR treatment for scoliosis – does it work?

I do not have any experience with CLEAR treatment.  From the internet it appears to be a chiropractic treatment that strengthens spinal weakness to restore normal shape of the spine.  This may be difficult if there is fixed solid deformity.  I would ask for references.  Good Luck!

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