Degenerative scoliosis is different from scoliosis that occurs in childhood. If you developed scoliosis in childhood, also known as idiopathic scoliosis, you can basically expect the curvature to continue slowly as you age. With exercises to strengthen and flex the spine, you may be able to stave off the slow continuation of the curvature.
Degenerative scoliosis refers to a form of spinal curvature that comes on in adulthood and is generally the result of spinal degeneration, arthritis or a forced compression of the protective discs between the vertebrae. Additionally, there are conditions such as cerebral palsy or muscular dystrophy that can make scoliosis worse over time.
Chiropractic Care for Degenerative Scoliosis
Adult-onset scoliosis curvature is not unlike the process of developing the osteoporotic hump, except that with scoliosis the spine moves to the side instead of curving forward. The discs most at risk for pain are where the curvature is most severe.
To stabilize the curvature and build strength around the most vulnerable vertebra, consider working with a chiropractor to try to stop the advancement of the curvature and a qualified trainer to develop an exercise plan to stabilize the side to side movement of your spine. This is not an exercise plan you should try on your own as you may exacerbate the curvature at the most fragile joint and lead to pain where there was none. However, by building up your spinal strength you may be able to stabilize the spinal movement and avoid a great deal of stress on vertebra suffering from the greatest curvature.
When possible, consider working with a combination of chiropractic, personal trainer or physical therapist and your regular physician. One of the biggest challenges when exercising with scoliosis is know when your alignment is off-kilter. Because your body is already slightly crooked, it can be very challenging to feel when you’re actually square up and in proper alignment. Adding pressure, such as weights, when you’re not properly aligned can exacerbate nerve pain.
Treatments You Can Try With a Trainer
If you don’t suffer from any condition that causes muscular atrophy, there are exercises you can try to halt the severity of the curvature. Focusing on core stabilization is a great start. Simple exercises such as
- abdominal crunches to strengthen the rectus abdominis or front abdominal muscle.
- the superman pose. Lie on your tummy with your arms extended above your head and your legs extended back. As comfortable, raise your arms and legs off the mat without arching your neck back to strengthen muscles along the spine.
- bird dogs. Kneel on the mat with your hands under your shoulders and knees directly under your hips. Keeping your head aligned with your spine, raise your right arm and left leg, pointing your fingers and toes in a straight line. Hold the position for five seconds, then lower it and do the other side.
- some forms of yoga. Consider discussing your yoga plans with a physical therapist, your chiropractor or your physician as some moves may cause spinal hyperextension and nerve pain.
If your degenerative scoliosis has advanced to a point where you are suffering from nerve pain, be aware that you may be able to reduce your pain with low-impact exercises that focus on core strength and flexibility. Any exercise that you can do in the water will reduce pressure on your spine and allow you more movement. However, you will need to avoid highly competitive swimming as it may increase muscular tension along the spine.
In addition, you should take care to avoid
- competitive sports that involve getting bumped
- anything that requires high impact, including running or some forms of dance
- heavy weightlifting, though small weight can help to strengthen your core muscles
- any lifting that requires you to bend from the waist with weights if your discs are unstable
There may be help for your degenerative scoliosis. With the right assistance, you may be able to halt the severity of the curvature and possibly even reverse some of your spinal compression. We would love to help. Call us today at 205-637-1363.