Exercises to Reduce Rib Hump Caused by Scoliosis

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Scoliosis can create a rib hump. (Image: Photos.com/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images)

Scoliosis is a spinal deformity involving a lateral curvature in your spine. Muscle imbalances form when tight muscles develop on one side of the spine and weakened and lengthened muscles develop on the other. Tight muscles pull the spine in the opposite direction of the weakened and lengthened side causing a concavity on the tight side. The weakened and lengthened side is unable to counter the pull and a convexity occurs on that side. Scoliosis prohibits proper postural alignment leading to many postural deviations. A rib hump is one of many postural deviations that can occur with scoliosis.

Same Side exercises

To correct the hump, strengthen muscles on the same side of the rib hump to straighten, stabilize and align the spine. Perform standing shoulder flexion with both arms, using an elastic band anchored below waist level. Lift against the resistance of the band to strengthen the posterior shoulder and spinal extensors. Strengthen your thoracic spine extensors by standing against a wall and try to straighten your spine on the side with the rib hump as much as possible. The wall provides feedback about how straight you are and provides support in case you lose your balance. Do one to three sets of eight to 12 repetitions every other day.

Opposite Side Exercises

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Asymmetrical exercises also correct your posture and can prevent further postural deviations. Do one arm standing scapular rows to strengthen your spine in the opposite direction of the hump. Anchor an elastic band to a doorknob or wall attachment and hold the band with the hand opposite the rib hump. Squeeze your shoulder blades together, rotating backwards toward the hump while straightening your spine. You can also bend forward and use a dumb bell to perform the same exercise. Trunk extension with backward rotation helps to lessen a rib hump. Lie face down with your arms at your side, lift and rotate your spine backward in the direction of the rib hump to strengthen the muscles that straighten and rotate your spine. Perform standing shoulder flexion unilaterally with an elastic band anchored below waist level. Lift against the resistance of the band to strengthen the posterior shoulder and spinal extensors. Do one to three sets of eight to 12 repetitions of all strengthening exercises on alternate days.

Stretching Exercises

Perform asymmetrical stretching exercises to stretch the tight or concave side of your spine. Stretching helps correct posture or prevent worsening of the postural abnormalities. Stretch your chest in a doorway or corner on the same side of the hump to open your chest, increase chest flexibility and extend your spine to stand straighter. Do a Pilates mermaid stretch with a backwards rotation bias to oppose the forward rotation and flexion from the rib hump. Sit with your legs criss-crossed or in a Z formation, with the hand opposite the hump resting on the floor. Lift the hand on the side of the hump over your head, palm side up, making a long arc. Slowly rotate backward. Hold 20 to 30 seconds for three to five times. Do this stretch three to five times daily to gain better flexibility.

Practice Perfect Posture

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Aligning and maintaining proper posture is an exercise in itself. Your muscles work hard continuously to hold your position, and as a result develop strength, flexibility and endurance. Sit and stand straight to prevent worsening of a rib hump. Keep your ears over your shoulders and chin towards your chest. Keep your shoulders over your hips, pelvis level, knees and feet facing forward hip width apart with the knees over your ankles. Practicing perfect posture can seem futile and overly simplistic but it can help keep the discomforts of a spinal deformity tolerable. You can safely and comfortably do the activities you enjoy when your spine is straight.

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