When discussing scoliosis and exercise, it’s important to distinguish therapeutic exercises, like physical therapy, from recreational exercise, like sports and activities.  This section deals with therapeutic scoliosis exercises to help improve balance and posture.  For more information on sports and activities, please refer to the Sports and Activities page.

Most experts agree that general physical therapy exercises (such as sit-ups, pelvic tilts, etc.) are not effective in reducing the severity of scoliosis nor preventing progression.  However, scoliosis-specific exercise (SSE) programs are different from general physical therapy in many ways.  The assumption that exercise cannot help scoliosis is based around studies that did not evaluate scoliosis-specific exercises.  Research specifically on SSE’s indicates these programs do have benefit.

The CLEAR Scoliosis-Specific Exercise Program

Scoliosis-specific exercises cannot be generalized. There is no “one-size-fits-all” exercise to help every person with scoliosis.  CLEAR prescribes scoliosis-specific exercises customized to each patient as part of the CLEAR Scoliosis Treatment Protocols.  These exercises are based on advanced three-dimensional x-ray analysis and a detailed physical examination.  In addition to exercises, CLEAR treatment includes a comprehensive soft tissue rehab component, sensorimotor re-integration strategies (balance training and postural re-modeling), whole-body vibration therapy, and advanced chiropractic adjustments.

There are many scoliosis exercise programs around the world, including:

  • Schroth methods
  • Scientific Exercise Approach to Scoliosis (SEAS)
  • Dobosiewicz (DoboMed)
  • Functional Independent Treatment for Scoliosis (FITS)
  • Methode Lyonaise
  • Mehta side-shift exercises
  • ScolioGold clinics (United Kingdom)
  • Scoliosis Rehab clinics (United States)
  • Scoliosis 3DC clinics (United States)

Many people with scoliosis have expressed a preference to find alternatives to treating scoliosis, other than with bracing or surgery, and the success of these methods is very encouraging.