By:Aatif Siddiqui D.C.
If you or your child is diagnosed with scoliosis it is a good idea to research what exercises are best to do and which ones to avoid. The other thing to keep in mind is where is the scoliosis. Why is this important? Well certain exercises should not be done for certain curve types, see below.
Lets start with swimming. Swimming is a great exercise and has been recommended for years if you have scoliosis. It is highly recommended because it helps to strengthen the spine in an almost weightless environment. While strengthening of the back muscles are very important as it mitigates progression, beware if your scoliosis is a ‘thoracic type’. I would not recommend competitive swimming to an adolescent with a thoracic scoliosis as it causes the thoracic spine to become more hypokyphotic. Severe hypokyphotic spines exasperate the problem, especially while the child is still developing and growing.
Weight training. Weight Training is a great for strengthening if done properly. You have to increase the weight very slowly to avoid added stress to your spine which would cause the spine to get worse. Case and point Lamar Gant someone with scoliosis in 1974 at age 15 dead lifted 525 pounds and held the world record.
Yoga: Yoga may be beneficial for an adult with scoliosis. Bear in mind, that Yoga was not created for scoliosis. In fact, depending on your type of scoliosis, you should avoid yoga poses that cause a lot of rotation to your spine.
Soccer: This sport cold be a good one for adolescence with a thoracic curvature. The reason being is that it helps to increase ones kyophosis in the thoracic spine. This would be helpful since a thoracic scoliosis usually results in a hypokyphosis in the thoracic spine.
Gymnastics: In general recreational gymnastics may be safe. However, participating in advanced or competitive gymnastics for hours frequently may trigger curve progression.
Ballet: Like swimming, Ballet is an activity that may result in a more hypokyphotic spine. So if you have a thoracic type of scoliosis, you may want to avoid.
One sided sports: The issues with one sided sports entailing rotation (e.g., tennis) is that it can cause the rotation of the scoliosis to worsen. This would not be a good thing because it is the rotation that can really drive the scoliosis to worsen over time.
Trampoline: Jumping on a trampoline may be excellent for strengthening your leg muscles but, those having a lumbar type of scoliosis should avoid it. The downward landing force stresses the spine causing your scoliosis to worsen.
In short there are a lot of exercises one can do to strengthen their spine but there are also a lot of exercises that one should not do depending on your curve type. Best advice is to research or ask your Boot Camp doctor which is best for you.