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Back Pain Center

The Best Back Exercises for Scoliosis

by
author image Martin Hughes
Martin Hughes is a chiropractic physician, health writer and the co-owner of a website devoted to natural footgear. He writes about health, fitness, diet and lifestyle. Hughes earned his Bachelor of Science in kinesiology at the University of Waterloo and his doctoral degree from Western States Chiropractic College in Portland, Ore.
The Best Back Exercises for Scoliosis
The side stretch can help correct problems associated with scoliosis. Photo Credit Siri Stafford/Lifesize/Getty Images

Overview

Scoliosis affects about 2 percent of the United States population and is more common in young girls, although boys and adults may have scoliosis too, according to SpineUniverse.com. Approximately 80 percent of scoliosis cases are called "idiopathic" scoliosis, which means that the cause of the condition is unknown. Back exercises for scoliosis attempt to restore balanced muscle tone in your back and promote healthy spinal curvatures, although the Scoliosis Research Society suggests that back exercises for scoliosis cannot prevent curve progression, but can help improve your core strength and provide you with symptomatic relief.

Stretch Up and Reach Down

The stretch up and reach down exercise is recommended for those with scoliosis by SportsInjuryClinic.net. Stand with your back against a wall, both arms dangling freely at your side. Standing with your back against the wall to perform this exercise helps you avoid bending forward or backward. If the left side of your back is your tight side, lift up your left arm so that it's pointing straight toward the ceiling. Reach up toward the ceiling with your left hand. At the same time, reach toward the floor with your right hand. You should feel a subtle shift in your spinal alignment with this stretch. Hold your stretch for five seconds, then relax. Repeat your stretch up and reach down exercise a total of 10 times, and perform your stretch two to three times per day. If you're not sure which side of your back is tighter or which arm you should raise, schedule an appointment with your primary care provider or a bodyworker trained in the treatment of scoliosis to have your spine and back assessed.

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Side Stretch

SportsInjuryClinic.net also recommends the side stretch for those with scoliosis. This exercise is intended to stretch your tight back muscles and provide you with relief from symptomatic back complaints. Stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart and your back against a wall, both arms dangling freely at your side. This is your starting position. If the left side of your back is your tight side, lift your left arm above your head and bend sideways to your right, away from your tight muscles. Put your right hand on your right hip to brace your movement, and apply gentle pressure into your right hip to augment your stretch. Reach over your head with your left arm as far as you're capable of reaching. You should feel a gentle stretch in your tight, left-sided back muscles and in the muscles between your ribs. Hold your stretch for five seconds before slowly returning to your starting position. Repeat your side stretch exercise a total of 10 times, two to three times per day.

Arm and Leg Extensions

IScoliosis.com recommends you perform arm and leg extension exercises on an exercise ball or stability ball to help strengthen your back and improve your posture. Begin your arm and leg extension exercise by carefully centering your hips on an exercise ball. The exercise ball should be supporting almost your full body weight. With your left toes and right fingertips contacting the floor for balance and support, extend your left arm and lift your left hand up to the level of your head. At the same time that you're lifting your left arm, lift up your right leg using your right gluteus maximus muscle until your leg is at the level of your buttocks. Hold your pose for three to four seconds before lowering your limbs and repeating the exercise. Perform a total of 10 repetitions before switching directions and lifting your opposite limbs for 10 more repetitions. Rest for 30 to 60 seconds before performing another set of arm and leg extensions. Perform a total of three sets of 10 repetitions on both sides of your body. Breathe in during the lowering phase and breathe out during the lifting phase.

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References

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