I recently found out that I have scoliosis, and it’s causing my hips to be out of sync and effecting how I walk. I just want to know what exercises I can do to correct my posture and possibly fix my crooked spine.
Three exercises for scoliosis
The following exercises are targeted toward people with scoliosis. Exercise is important for overall good health, although for people with moderate or severe scoliosis, Snyder recommends a doctor’s assessment first.
Step down and one-arm reach
- With whichever leg appears longer when you lay on your back, step onto a small box or step.
- Lower the opposite leg down to the floor as you bend into the knee.
- As you descend, raise the arm on the same side as the lowered leg up as high as possible. For example, if the left foot is lowering to the floor, raise the left arm.
- Perform 2 to 3 sets of 5 to 10 reps on this side only. Do not perform the exercise on the other side.
Upward and downward dog
- In a prone plank position with your arms stretched out straight, push your hips back and up as far as possible.
- Hold this for 2 seconds, and then lower your hips back down toward the floor.
- Try to get as low as possible without giving yourself back discomfort or pain.
- Perform 2 to 3 sets of 5 to 10 reps.
Split stance with arm reach
- Step forward with the longer leg in front in a slightly exaggerated stride length.
- Keep your torso as upright as possible at all times.
- Begin shifting your weight back and forth, allowing the forward knee to bend as you feel the weight shift onto it.
- As you shift your weight forward, raise the arm that is opposite of your forward leg as high as possible to the sky.
- While that arm is reaching upward, reach the other arm back with the palm up as much as possible. This causes the torso and spine to turn toward the side of the forward leg.
- Perform this exercise only on that side. Perform 2 to 3 sets of 5 to 10 reps.
Two re-educational stretches
Finding new ways to move can help restore some of the imbalances of scoliosis, Snyder says. He suggests two ways to do this. One is to drive your body in the direction it is already bending to stretch even further. This can cause the muscle you are stretching to pull back and slightly shorten. Scoliosis affects the ability of the central nervous system to help muscles contract and shorten. “You need to stretch them further to bring them to a shortened state,” says Snyder.
The second approach involves doing the opposite: If your spine leans to your left, simply lean to the right. This method, Snyder notes, doesn’t seem to work as well. The stretches are meant to help muscles that have gone lax. “Imagine taking a rubber band and keeping it stretched for a long time and then letting it go,” he says. “It wouldn’t know how to shorten back up again.”