While scoliosis is characterized as a simple curvature of the spine, if you grow up with scoliosis, it can come to impact many aspects of your body and may even alter the functioning of some organs. Many who suffer from scoliosis find that they have some very tight tolerances in certain areas of the body. For example, an S curve from side to side high in the spine can bring your ribs closer together than is safe or comfortable, so any inflammation in that part of your skeleton can cause discomfort.
Ribs under pressure will lead to muscular inflammation and tightness, and that hurts. While popping your ribs can be a jolt, in the hands of a skilled chiropractor, rib motion is possible and can reduce inflammation. On your own, it is possible to warm up the muscles and then to stretch the muscles in an effort to expand the too-tight gap between the bones.
Additionally, building up the musculature around the spine can also create a bit more space in the spinal joints themselves. Scoliosis sufferers should never exercise or stretch to the point of pain; torn or strained muscles and connective tissue will not help your scoliosis.
On Your Own
Start with walking. As you walk, focus on alignment. From the top of your head to your shoulders, form a perfect upside-down T. Straighten your shoulders and focus on lifting your sternum as you stride. As possible, elevate your rib cage and pull in your abdominal muscles to take pressure off your lower back. Strive to keep your toes pointing forward and work toward a heel to toe rocking motion with each step. To increase your speed, bend your arms and lightly clasp your fists, using your arms to propel your body a bit faster.
Get your whole body in on propelling yourself forward. After your walk, stretch your body, again from the skull down. Let your chin drop and feel a gentle stretch in your neck. Return to that upside-down T and tilt your head to the right, then the left. Never roll your head all the way around, but come back to center. Gently tilt your head back and let your mouth open as a final neck stretch. To loosen the upper back, bring your right palm up to your right shoulder, poking your elbow to the front. Use the left arm to draw the elbow across the body. Switch sides.
Finally, draw up both palms to their respective shoulders and gently lower your head. To stretch the mid and low back, widen your stance to one foot past the width of your hips. Place your hands on your hips and, keeping your head straight, stretch forward to flatten your back. Let the weight of your upper body be held up by your glutes and the backs of your thighs. Don’t bounce, and don’t twist. You can expand the use of this stretch by clasping your hands behind you and lifting them off your back. If possible, get on all fours. Lay your right hand, palm up, under your left shoulder and try to lower your right shoulder to the mat to gently twist and stretch your spine. Always keep your weight balanced above your knees during this stretch, and support your upper body with the hand that’s still on the mat.
Switch sides and gently twist the other way. If you have problems with the facet joints in your upper spine, work with your chiropractor before doing any floor work; facet joints may not tolerate this position. To stretch the low back from all fours, slowly lower your bottom to your heels. If this is comfortable, stretch the mid-back by extending your hands above your head, palms down on the mat. Finally, gently let your forehead drop. It’s possible to function well with scoliosis, and many find that the condition is not painful if well managed. You can still build structural strength and keep your spine supported. You can even stretch your spine on your own.
Popping your own spinal joints may be enjoyable for some, but if someone else wants to help you out, just let them know that you have a professional for that! Keeping your muscles loose and flexible is the best way to avoid scoliosis pain. Unless the curvature is so severe that organs are impacted or your facet joints (high in the spine) or sacroiliac joints (where spine meets the pelvis) are unstable or breaking down, regular chiropractic appointments and a logical exercise plan with strength training and flexibility are an excellent way to maintain in spite of scoliosis. Call us at 205-637-1363.