Many people believe that scoliosis has to slow them down, that they have to stop exercising or playing sports simply because of a diagnosis of scoliosis. But a scoliosis workout can actually help to improve your scoliosis, as well as your general health and happiness. That said, we do recommend you get a doctor’s opinion on potentially harmful activities before engaging in them.
We put together a list of frequently asked questions about scoliosis workouts and their corresponding answers.
Q: What benefits are there to staying active if I have scoliosis?
A: Scoliosis progresses when discs in the spine collapse and cause the spine to curve in a different direction. A common reaction to this information is to limit any exercise. However, movement helps with the regeneration of spinal discs. The regeneration of collapsed spinal discs is the main goal for many scoliosis treatments. The discs need moisture to regenerate, and the best way to send moisture that direction is through staying active.
Keeping active will also benefit your social wellbeing and general health. There’s no need to stop exercising because of a diagnosis of scoliosis. Talk to your doctor to find a safe and healthy scoliosis workout for you.
Q: Are there risks to working out with scoliosis?
A: Considering the delicate and intricate nature of scoliosis as a disease, there are risks to performing certain exercises or playing certain sports. For example, collision sports like hockey and football won’t carry many doctor recommendations, whereas swimming is often recommended by chiropractors. However, every patient is different. There is no be-all-end-all answer to what you can and can’t do with your specific scoliosis. Having an honest conversation with your doctor is the only way to discover your personal risks for each activity you’d like to do.
Q: What precautions should I take for a scoliosis workout?
A: In order for sports and exercise to be safe, you should be completely complying with your treatment and following your doctor’s advice. Try to maintain good posture and proper deep breathing throughout your workout. If at any point an exercise becomes painful, you should stop immediately. Be sure to discuss all sports and exercises with your doctor beforehand to avoid any potential pain or injury.
Q: If I have scoliosis and my spine is still growing, can I play sports?
A: For growing spines, the list of scoliosis-safe activities is a little less extensive. Whereas adults are advised to exercise caution when playing collision or competitive sports, these sports can be detrimental to children with scoliosis. However, some sports are great for growing spines. Cycling on paved surfaces, hiking, skating, dancing, swimming, badminton, and yoga are all safe activities. Talk to your doctor for more recommendations.
Q: Which sports are best for scoliosis?
A: The following are all great exercises for people with scoliosis:
- Swimming (other than the butterfly stroke)
- Scuba diving and diving
- Cycling (other than off-road cycling)
- Walking, skating, hiking and sprinting (other than long-distance running)
- Aerobics including dance, yoga, and flexibility training
- Table sports such as table tennis and foosball
- No-impact exercise such as cross-country skiing, croquet, badminton, shuffleboard and ellipticals (gliding-type exercise machines)
In general, activities that don’t involve collision or purely one-sided motions are excellent options for scoliosis patients. Be sure to discuss any activities with your doctor before you begin just to make sure it’s a good fit for you.
Q: Which sports are worst for scoliosis?
A: In general, collision sports, like lacrosse and gymnastics, and rotation-heavy sports, like golf or tennis, are most likely to injure the spine or reduce the effectiveness of treatment. Repetitive and compressive activities, like horseback riding or weight lifting, and sports that carry the risk of spinal trauma, like martial arts and downhill skiing, can also be dangerous. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to stop these activities. As a rule, you should discuss the pros and cons of each activity with your doctor before your scoliosis workout and stop if you encounter any pain.
Q: Can I still play collision and competitive sports if I have scoliosis?
A: Yes, however, we recommend discussing the risks with your doctor first. In some cases, collision or competitive sports can negatively impact the curve of your spine.
Q: How do you determine whether or not it’s safe to play a particular sport?
A: Looking at the motions involved in each activity, doctors can weigh this against each person’s unique brand of scoliosis and speculate what the risks and advantages are. CLEAR doctors are taught biomechanics and how each body movement can affect the spine. For example, a shoulder-heavy workout may not only affect the shoulders, but also the back and hips. There is no set yes or no answer to each sport or activity. Everything is subjective to how important the activity is to you, as well as the risks that activity carries in respect to your scoliosis.
Q: Can I exercise and play sports during CLEAR treatment?
A: Yes! Talk to your doctor about the specifics beforehand, but CLEAR doctors generally recommend you keep active both during treatment and after you’ve completed it.
Q: How long should I wait to play sports after starting CLEAR treatment?
A: There are some restrictions for certain sports and activities during CLEAR treatment. We usually ask that you wait 90 days before playing competitive sports and 180 days before playing collision sports. Muscle physiology takes time to develop. We like to stabilize the spinal position before putting it in any sort of compromising position. However, once you are stable and your doctor has given you the green light, there’s no reason you can’t go back to playing your favorite sports.
Q: What are some quick and easy exercises I can do at home to help my scoliosis?
A: Unfortunately, scoliosis-specific exercises can’t be easily generalized and applied across the board. Chiropractors specializing in scoliosis use three-dimensional x-rays along with a detailed physical examination to learn the intricacies of your unique spine. When you undergo CLEAR treatment, your doctor will give you specific scoliosis exercises personalized to your unique spine. These are usually therapeutic exercises that work to improve your balance and posture.
Exercise creates happy and healthy people, and scoliosis should never stand in the way of your happiness. Staying active is actually proven to help improve scoliosis and the irregular spinal curves that it produces. There’s no be all end all yes or no answer to any activity, but there are often pros and cons to specific activities in relation to your unique situation. Work with your doctor to come up with a scoliosis workout routine that works for you and your scoliosis.
Do you have any other questions about finding a scoliosis workout that’s right for you? Have you tried working out with scoliosis? We’d love to hear from you in the comments.