Adult degenerative scoliosis refers to a spinal deformity caused by curvature or abnormal alignment. While the curvature of the spine is not typically painful, the pinching of the branching nerves of the spinal column can be. This condition can also cause numbness or weakness in the extremities, depending on the severity of the pinch. There are multiple treatments that you can undergo to reduce the impact of the curve on daily living.
A diet high in antioxidants can help reduce inflammation, while a diet high in calcium can help you fight osteoporosis. Anyone with adult degenerative scoliosis should avoid tobacco use, as this can speed any damage caused by bone density loss.
How to Get Moving
Exercise is commonly recommended for those with adult degenerative scoliosis. However, there are some large challenges to building an exercise program when dealing with the condition. Adults with scoliosis
- are often in pain
- struggle with poor alignment
- have inherently bad form, so exercise puts more pressure on joints and spine
- may feel awkward in an exercise class
Start with chiropractic care to reduce your pain. While your chiropractor can’t cure your scoliosis, proper care can reduce the pressure on impinged nerves and make it easier to move comfortably. Work with a physical therapist to determine your tolerance, and most importantly, your stopping point. If physical therapy isn’t an option, make an appointment with a personal trainer to work on form. A good personal trainer can help you build proper alignment with small weights while you develop the muscle memory to lift, stretch and move safely.
Alignment and form are extremely difficult for those with adult degenerative scoliosis. For one thing, they’re used to being misaligned. Their shoulders may not be centered over their hips from side to side due to low back curvature. Their upper body may be twisting to one direction of the other as the as the spine twists and compresses. Those with the condition will require observation to make sure they’re in the best alignment possible before they add additional time or weight to their workout. Find a tai chi class, or take a yoga class at a senior center.
Most yoga classes require you to get down on the floor and move to a standing pose fairly quickly. For those with adult degenerative scoliosis, these moves can feel extremely awkward and may put too much stress on the core. Moving from all fours to down dog feels great if your shoulders line up with your hips, but if not, it’s really hard on your core, shoulders and arms. Tai chi is mostly about core strength and footwork. The movements are generally slow and are focused on breathing, moving with focus and holding stretches at the deepest point.
Again, look for a senior class so you know you’ll get the observation necessary to hold good form. A yoga class at a senior center will likely focus on exercise you can do
- standing on a mat,
- sitting in a chair, or
- standing against the wall for balance
Moving from the floor to a standing position can be avoided with an observant instructor, you can enjoy some community and enjoy a good workout. Finally, people with adult degenerative scoliosis can greatly benefit from time in the water. Start by walking from knee deep to shoulder deep along the wall of the pool to warm up a bit, then move back to hip deep water.
Hold onto the edge and straighten your legs as you push your bottom back and stretch along your spine. Drop your bottom deeper into the water to stretch your quads, and lift your toes to stretch your calves. If you can, lower your forehead to the water to stretch your neck while your arms are above your head. Work to the point of stretch, not pain. Walk to armpit deep water and pull your foot up to your bottom so you’re stretching your quads.
If you have low back nerve problems, your hips and quads are probably really tight. Finally, move back to hip deep water and spread your feet until your chin is level with the edge. Move deeper if the stretch is too intense. Once your hips are open, check your spine and try a slow twist from side to side. With your body buoyant, your should be able to stretch more deeply than on dry ground.
The first step to feeling better is to start to feel good, and chiropractic care can help. Ready to get started? Call us today at 205-637-1363. We can help.