As many as 6% of American adults over the age of 50 have some degree of scoliosis, and as many as 75% of them experience pain related to their condition on a daily basis. This often leads to reduced mobility and a loss in the ability to perform daily tasks.
Treatment for adult scoliosis can be tricky because the spine has already stopped growing, thereby ruling out many traditional treatments used for adolescents. In addition to ScoliSMART™ rehabilitation programs and Activity Suit, relief can sometimes be found through yoga, exercises, and stretches aimed at correcting imbalances and increasing core strength.
Yoga Poses for Scoliosis Pain Relief
Yoga is essentially a form of stretching, and it can be very relaxing. Not only can performing yoga relieve stress, it may relieve scoliosis pain. Here are four easy yoga poses to get started:
- Mountain Pose – Stand upright with your hands at your sides, feet together. Part your heels a little bit, then rise slowly onto the balls of your feet, closing your eyes. Keep your weight evenly distributed, then rise onto your toes and pause for a moment. Slowly lower yourself back down and breathe in, drawing your pelvis in toward your navel. Keeping your shoulders relaxed, take a few breaths and repeat.
- Tree Pose – Coming out of Mountain Pose, shift all bodyweight onto your left foot. Next, use your right hand to grasp your right ankle, raising it enough to place your foot flat against your inner left thigh. On an inhale, draw your pelvis in toward your navel, then put your palms together in front of your chest. Take a few deep breaths, then relax and repeat on the other side.
- Child's Pose – Squat down, sitting back on your heels with your weight balanced on your toes. Stretch your arms out in front of you while bending forward, slowly lowering your chest to your knees. Keep stretching forward while taking deep breaths, feeling the muscles in your back lengthening and stretching. Relax completely, then repeat.
- Cat Pose – Kneel down and place your knees below your hips, your hands below your shoulders. Spread your fingers and look down at the ground, tightening your core. Breathe in while tilting your head back, arching your back at the same time. Exhale while tucking your tailbone in, lowering your head, and rounding your back. Breathe, then relax and repeat.
When performing yoga, it is important that you move slowly and with great care. This type of exercise is not about speed; it is about using and understanding your body. To prevent injury, avoid any moves that require you to twist at the waist or bend too far backward or forward.
Core-Strengthening Exercises for Scoliosis
Core-strengthening exercises are very important for strength and posture, and they can help work out any muscular imbalances that may have developed as a result of your scoliosis. Some of the best core-strengthening exercises for adult scoliosis are drawn from Pilates.
Recommended Tools for Adult Scoliosis Exercises
Exercising with scoliosis may be challenging, but there are some tools that can help you work through the pain and reduce it:
- BOSU Balance Trainer – A dome-shaped device that you stand on while performing exercises, a BOSU balance trainer incorporates an element of instability into your workout to engage your stabilizing muscles along the spine.
- Stability Ball – A stability ball provides support and balance for the spine while you work your back and abdominal muscles with core-strengthening exercises.
- Training Wedges – If your spine has multiple curves, using training wedges may provide additional support during exercise.
- Foam Roller – A foam roller can be used to work sore muscles or to improve balance while you work on core-strengthening exercises.
Tools in hand, here are nine simple exercises to help you strengthen your core:
- Superman – Lie face-down on the floor with your arms extended in front of you, palms facing down. Lift both arms and feet and hold for a few seconds, then release and repeat.
- Squats – Standing on a BOSU balance trainer with your feet hip-width apart, find your balance with your arms extended in front of you. Lower your hips until your thighs are parallel to the floor, then push back up to the starting position and repeat.
- Leg and Arm Extension – Lie with your belly on a stability ball, placing your hands and toes on the floor shoulder-width apart. Engage your core and lower back muscles while raising your right arm and left leg until they are parallel to the floor. Lower and repeat, alternating sides.
- Back Extension – Lie with your stomach and quads on a stability ball, feet braced against a wall. With your fingertips behind your ears, lower your torso on the ball and lift back up. Repeat.
- Crunches – Rest your lower back on a stability ball with your feet planted on the floor. With your fingers behind your head, sit up while engaging your core muscles. Relax and repeat.
- Cat-Camel – On hands and knees, take a deep breath while rounding your back, keeping your neck relaxed. Breathe out, lowering your chest to the floor and raising your head up. Return to the start and repeat.
- Spider – With your feet together, stand facing the wall and lean forward to place your hands on the wall at chest height. Walk your fingers up the wall, rising to your toes as you extend your arms overhead. At full extension, walk your fingers back down. Repeat.
- Pelvic Tilt – Lying face-up on the floor, bend your knees and place your feet flat on the floor, arms at your sides. Tighten your abs and glutes, curling your pelvic bone in and flattening your lower back against the floor. Hold for five seconds, then release and repeat.
- Foam Roller Balance – Lie on a foam roller with your feet planted hip-width apart. Lift one leg until the calf is parallel to the floor while also lifting your opposite arm, fingers pointed to the ceiling. Return to the starting position and repeat, alternating sides.
As you perform these and other exercises, try to keep your core muscles engaged. Not only will this help you strengthen and build your core, it will help stabilize your spine.
Stretches for Scoliosis Pain Management
While the exercises mentioned above can help build your core and improve stability, stretching increases flexibility and range of motion. Stretching is also a great way to loosen up before you exercise – and a great way to start your day! If you stretch in the morning, you may have less scoliosis pan throughout the day.
Here are six simple stretches to try yourself:
- Back Stretch – Standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, stretch your arms out in front of you. Lacing your fingers together, push your hands outward from your chest until you feel a stretch in your back. Hold for several seconds, then rest and repeat.
- Chest Stretch – Standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, stretch your arms out in front of you. Open your arms out to the sides, pulling them back until your shoulder blades come together and you feel a stretch in your chest. Hold for several seconds, then rest and repeat.
- Hip Stretch – Lying flat on your back, extend your legs fully. Bend your left knee, pulling it slowly in toward your chest using both your hands, keeping toes pointed up. Stretch as much as you can, hold for a few seconds, relax, and repeat.
- Overhead Reach – Sit flat on the floor with your legs crossed and your back braced against a wall. Take the ends of a small rolled towel in both hands and hold it straight out in front of you. Raise the towel over your head, stretching as high as you can. Rest and repeat.
- Box Stretch and Reach – Determine which of your legs is slightly shorter than the other, then step up onto a small box with it. Step back with the opposite leg and bend at the knee, lowering yourself as far as you can without pain. As you do, raise your arm on the same side as high as possible. Return to the start and repeat.
- Split Stance and Reach – With your longer leg, take an exaggerated step forward, but keep your torso straight and upright. Shift your weight back while bending your knee and raise the opposite arm as high as you can. As you reach up, reach the opposite arm backward with the palm up, turning your body toward your forward leg. Return to the start and repeat.
No matter what kind of stretches or exercises you are doing, pay close attention to your form to prevent straining your back or injuring your spine. When stretching, focus on stretching with your spinal curvature because it will cause the muscles to contract and shorten, helping to correct the muscle imbalance. Only stretch as much as you are able without pain and stop if you feel a strain.
Supplementing with ScoliPAIN Plus
As a supplement to the yoga, exercises, and stretches outlined in this article, ScoliPAIN plus is a time-released curcumin supplement that provides 6-8 hours of effective scoliosis pain relief.
Curcumin is a powerful anti-inflammatory derived from turmeric root. It has been clinically shown to be an effective, safe, natural pain reliever.
ScoliPAIN plus is different from other curcumin supplements because of its time-released version of curcumin, which provides longer-lasting, sustained pain relief throughout the day. Per dose, its cost is also cheaper than competing supplements.
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