7 Exercises to Treat Scoliosis at Home

exercises for scoliosis

Scoliosis causes the sideways or lateral curvature of the spine. It is identified by a lateral ‘S’ or ‘C’ shaped curving of the back. It often occurs in early childhood itself, but can also happen to adults. In adults, it can happen due to genetics, spine or joint surgeries, uneven pelvic position, and knee or foot distortions.

Did You Know?

There is no known cure or prevention medicine for scoliosis. Only the symptoms can be addressed to improve the standard of living and functionality(1).

If you suspect you have scoliosis, visit a doctor to get confirmation and a treatment plan. Performing exercises for scoliosis is one of the essential steps in recovering, and we’ve listed 7 scoliosis stretching exercises you can do at home to begin correcting your spine. You can perform these exercises to avoid scoliosis as well.

Exercises to Help Scoliosis

1. Pelvic Tilts

Pelvic Tilts
Image:ShutterStock

Why Use?

This exercise helps stretch the tight muscles located in the hips and the lower back. The pelvic tilt exercise helps correct uneven hips and slowly corrects spinal curvature. It is one of the best exercises for scoliosis pain.

How to Use?

  1. Lie down on your back, preferably on a yoga mat, with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. You must be comfortable in this position.
  2. Slowly tighten your abdominal muscles while raising your hips upwards and flattening your back against the ground.
  3. Hold this position for 20 seconds (or lesser if it begins to hurt), then slowly lower your hips back to resting position.
  4. Repeat this exercise 10 times.

How Much to Use?

2 sets of 10 repetitions everyday.

[Read: Yoga for Scoliosis]

2. Arm and Leg Raises

Why Use?

This exercise stretches and strengthens the lower back muscles and core muscles. These muscles support the spine, and this stretch acts as a scoliosis pain relief exercise.

How to Use?

  1. Lie down on your stomach (preferably on a yoga mat) with your forehead or chin placed firmly to the ground.
  2. Your legs should be stretched out, and arms must be stretched forward, over your head, palms facing down.
  3. Slowly raise one arm off the ground, hold it in position for two breaths, then slowly lower the arm down.
  4. Repeat for each arm and leg.
  5. Perform 15 repetitions per limb.

How Much to Use?

1 set of 15 repetitions (per limb) everyday.

3. Cat-Camel Pose

Cat-Camel Pose
Image:ShutterStock

Why Use?

The Cat-Camel pose is a yoga exercise and is one of the most effective exercises to help scoliosis(2). It helps stretch and relax the entire back helping to soothe out scoliosis spine curvature.

How to Use?

  1. Get down on the floor (preferably on a yoga mat) on your hands and knees, palms to the ground.
  2. Keep your back straight (parallel to the ground) and ensure your neck and head are in a relaxed position.
  3. Inhale deeply and as you do, pull in your abdominal muscles while lifting your back upwards in an arch. Fold your neck downwards to keep it relaxed.
  4. Exhale and bring your back down to neutral position while slowly tilting your neck upwards.
  5. Repeat this 10 times.

How Much to Use?

2 sets of 10 repetitions everyday.

[Read: Exercises for Back Pain]

4. Bird-Dog Pose

Why Use?

The Bird-Dog is a yoga pose and is a combination of the arm and leg raises exercise and the cat-camel pose. It helps stretch and relax the entire back and the abdominal muscles.

How to Use?

  1. Get down on the floor (preferably on a yoga mat) on your hands and knees, palms to the ground.
  2. Your hands must be directly under your shoulders, and your knees must be directly under your hips.
  3. Keep your back straight (parallel to the ground) and ensure your neck and head are in a relaxed position.
  4. Now, extend one arm straight forward while simultaneously stretching the opposite leg back. Hold this position for 5 seconds while breathing at a normal pace.
  5. Come back to neutral position. When coming back, you can squeeze your arm and leg in to arch your back up like the cat-camel pose before returning to neutral pose.
  6. Repeat for the other arm and leg.
  7. Perform 15 repetitions for each set of limbs.

How Much to Use?

1 set of 15 repetitions per arm or leg pair everyday.

5. Latissimus Dorsi Stretch

Why Use?

The Latissimus dorsi is the largest muscle in the upper body. It is a large and flat muscle located on the back, and it stretches to the sides, behind the arm. Scoliosis affects this muscle and stretching it helps improve the condition.

How to Use?

  1. Stand in a neutral position with good posture. You must be relaxed and not forcing straightness.
  2. Place your feet at shoulder distance and slightly bend your knees.
  3. Stretch both your hands over your head and grab your right wrist with your left hand.
  4. With your hands overhead, slowly bend to the right. You will feel the muscles on the left side of your body stretch.
  5. Hold for 1-2 breaths and then return to normal.
  6. Repeat for the other side.
  7. Perform 5-10 repetitions for each side.

How Much to Use?

5-10 repetitions per side.

[Read: Yoga Poses for Lower Back Pain]

6. Abdominal Press

Abdominal Press
Image:ShutterStock

Why Use?

The muscles in your abdomen complement and support the back muscles in keeping your posture straight. It is important to work out the abdominal muscles and strengthen them.

How to Use?

  1. Lie down on your back, preferably on a yoga mat, with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. You must be comfortable in this position.
  2. Raise both legs simultaneously off the floor, knees towards your head, until your thighs are 90 degrees to the floor.
  3. Place your palms on your knees (or as close as you can get to your knees without lifting your head or shoulders) and push your knees forward, while resisting this push with your knees.
  4. When in this position, your knees must not move. The pressure you apply pushing with your palms must be equalised by your knees pushing to resist.
  5. These opposite forces will engage your abdominal muscles. Hold this position for 3 breaths and then return to neutral position.
  6. Repeat for 10 repetitions.

How Much to Use?

2 sets of 10 repetitions everyday.

7. Upward and Downward Dog

Why Use?

This exercise stretches the lower back muscles, straightens out the spine and also stretches the hips.

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How to Use?

  1. Get down on the floor in a plank position. Only your palms and toes will be grounded. Ensure you’re in a comfortable position.
  2. Slowly push your hips back, and upwards towards the ceiling while straightening your back. Your chest will get closer to the ground.
  3. Hold this position for 2-5 seconds.
  4. Now slowly bring your hips down while moving your chest back up. Cross the neutral position and take your hips as low as possible.
  5. Hold this position for 2-5 seconds.
  6. Return to the neutral position.
  7. Repeat this set 10 times.

How Much to Use?

2-3 sets of 10-15 repetitions every day.

[Read: Acupressure for Back Pain]

How to Avoid Getting Scoliosis

The onset of scoliosis often happens because of hereditary causes. By consciously maintaining good posture and performing exercises that strengthen muscles that help maintain posture (like the back and abdominal muscles) you can avoid getting scoliosis, or treat and improve your condition if you already have it. The routines mentioned above are the best exercises to avoid with scoliosis.

Another popular method to relieve pain and symptoms of scoliosis is performing the Schroth exercises for scoliosis. It helps in restoring the symmetry of the muscles and posture alignment.

If you have scoliosis, avoid doing the following:

  1. Bending your neck forward (when using your phone) for prolonged periods.
  2. Playing high contact and straining sports.
  3. Working out with heavy weights or high movement dancing (like Zumba).
  4. Spine impacting activities like horse riding or skipping.

With daily exercise and rest, you will be able to correct your spine and notice improvement from scoliosis. If you continue to suffer from scoliosis for a long time, consider visiting a doctor and correcting your spine through surgery.


FAQs

1. Is Scoliosis Treatable?

There is no permanent cure for scoliosis, but depending on the severity, conditions can be improved, and symptoms can be reduced. Treatment options are exercise and surgery.

2. Is Scoliosis Dangerous?

Scoliosis itself is not a fatal disease, but severe folding of the ribs can constrict the lungs and block breathing. It is best to start treatment for scoliosis at an early stage.

3. Is Scoliosis Hereditary?

Scoliosis passes down from parents to children, yes. While you cannot provide any medication to prevent it, you can look for early signs and begin treating it right away.

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