If you are dealing with scoliosis, you’re surely aware that your spine is curving sideways. This can lead to pain and weakness as well as affect the way you walk. In specific cases, your doctor might suggest wearing a brace or different kinds of surgery to treat your scoliosis. However, there are also stretches and exercises that can alleviate your pain and help you feel better. Here are some you can try.
Improving your posture
For starters, you can work on improving your posture. This is beneficial regardless of whether you have scoliosis or not, so try doing this simple activity regularly. Stand up straight, put your shoulders down and back and make sure they are relaxed. Keep your ears in line with your shoulders, your jaw not too inward and not too forward, and your knees barely unlocked. Remember to draw in your stomach slightly.
Arm and leg raises
You can also try doing arm and leg raises as these can strengthen your core and lower back muscles, which are mostly in charge of supporting your spine. Lie down on your stomach and lift one extremity at a time. So, start by lifting the right arm off the ground and keeping it there for about 10 seconds. Then, move on to the left arm, right leg, and left leg. You can make it a bit more challenging by lifting two limbs at the same time; for example, the right arm and the left leg.
Another exercise to try is single-leg balances. Stand in front of a mirror and lift up one knee so that it’s at a right angle. Repeat it with the other leg as well and stay in that position for as long as you can. In the beginning, you can hold on to the wall or a chair, but try working on your balance without aids.
The cat and cow poses are also very useful for strengthening the muscles that support your spine. It is a rather gentle exercise, but it does require you to get on your hands and knees. Once your hands are in line with your shoulders and your knees with your hips, you can take a deep breath, look up, and lift your chest and tailbone upwards. On the exhales, lift the spine while you retract your jaw and look down. Repeat the process several times.
While on your hands and knees, you can also do some bird-dog exercises. Extend your right arm forward and your left leg backward while balancing on the other two extremities. Put them down and do the same with the opposite arm and leg. Repeat each side about 15 times.
The child’s pose is a great stretch that can help you relieve tension in the back. Do it by kneeling down, pushing your hips toward your heels, bending over, and reaching forward with your arms. Try to get your torso as close to the floor as possible. Of course, it’s important to remember that there are different types of scoliosis treatments, meaning that simple stretches might not be enough to alleviate your pain. In that case, you should consult with professionals to see whether some sort of correction surgery might be necessary.
Latissimus dorsi stretches
You don’t want to overlook the largest muscle in your upper body – the latissimus dorsi. It can be directly impacted by certain types of scoliosis, so doing a stretch will do your body good. Stand in a neutral position, with your knees slightly bent and feet at shoulder width. Lift both of your arms above your head and grab your left wrist with your right hand. Bend over to the left until you feel a stretch in your right side. Hold for a few breaths, straighten your body, and do the same thing on the other side. Try at least five repetitions on each side.
If you think a plank seems too difficult, remember that you can start small. As long as you’re doing it properly, you can start by being in the plank position for only 15 seconds and build your strength slowly. In time, a few minutes will fly by. Planks are great for increasing core stability and making your abs stronger, which can be of great help when dealing with scoliosis.
There are countless other exercises and stretches you can try out. For example, pelvic tilts, abdominal presses, and upward and downward dog can all help if you’re struggling with scoliosis. If nothing seems to be helping, turn to your doctor for more assistance.