3 Exercises for Scoliosis Sufferers

An estimated 6 million people in the U.S. live with scoliosis, a condition in which the spine curves to one side. Instead of being straight up and down, the spine may form an “S” or “C” shape. Typically, scoliosis is diagnosed in childhood, between ages 10 and 18, and is found to be idiopathic, or without a known cause. It rarely causes pain and is often minor enough not to require treatment. However, some adults can develop degenerative scoliosis, caused by degenerating facet joints in the spine. This is mostly seen in people over age 65. As a result, they can experience stiffness and pain in the mid to lower back, or numbness in the legs and feet. Treatment for degenerative scoliosis is often focused on reducing the pain, not correcting the curve of the spine. This can include medication, physical therapy or surgery, depending on the severity.

Physicians recommend exercise for all scoliosis sufferers in order to strengthen the spine and increase flexibility and range of motion. This will help to reduce future pain and support the spine as you age. Try out these three exercises from iScoliosis specially tailored to strengthen the back and spine:

  1. Arm and Leg Extensions: Begin by balancing over an exercise ball, with the ball positioned underneath your hips. Have your left toes and right fingertips touch the floor for balance while you raise your right leg and left arm simultaneously, straight out from your body, extending toward opposite walls as much as possible. Hold for three to five seconds, then lower and repeat the motion on the other side. Do three sets of 10 extensions.
  2. Back Extensions: Kneeling in front of a stability ball, lean forward to rest on the ball in a relaxed position. Raise your arms out straight in front of you as you rise up off the ball, so that your back feels like it is parallel with the ball. Hold for five seconds and relax. Repeat 10 times.
  3. Bent-Over Raises: Place light weights next to the exercise ball. Sit on the exercise ball and bend over so your back is straight and flat, like a tabletop. Pick up the weights and extend your arms straight out to the sides, so they are almost parallel with the ground, then lower. Perform three sets of 10 of this movement. You can also skip the weights and simply extend your arms.

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