Back Stretches for Scoliosis
Although scoliosis is typically noticed in adolescence and treated before adulthood, this lateral curvature of the spine can persist or appear as you grow older. While your spine is supposed to run straight down your back, those with scoliosis have a spine that looks more like the letters "S" or "C."
A straight spine is capable of moving from side to side, while those with scoliosis typically can only bend in one direction, leading to stiffness and decreased flexibility and range of motion. A regular stretching routine can help get rid of the tension in the muscles around your spine, also releasing any pain and stiffness.
This basic yoga pose can be done anywhere that you're able to get down on the floor. If you have any knee injuries, you might want to avoid this stretch.
To get into Child's pose, get down on your hands and knees. On the exhale, push your hips back so your bottom is resting on your heels. Typically, you should position your arms overhead with palms on the floor; however, you can also place your arms next to your body with your palms up.
Scoliosis occurs when your spin develops a curve.
Although this is a simple stretch, you might have trouble rounding the top of your upper back. Ask a friend to rest their hand above the shoulder blades to assist in activating the muscles.
To do the cat stretch, get into all fours — also known as a tabletop position — and look forward, keeping your head in a neutral position. On the exhale, round your spine so it reaches up toward the ceiling. Keep your shoulders and knees where they are, and let your head release to the floor. On the inhale, come back to the starting position.
This position can give your spine a good stretch, but don't try to force it.
To do the spine release, lay on your back on the floor and position your arms out so they're at shoulder height and perpendicular to your body. Bring your knees to your chest, and then let them fall to one side, twisting your spine. Let your knees rest where they feel comfortable, even if they're not quite on the floor. Keep your shoulders flat and twist your head in the opposite direction. After releasing, repeat the stretch on the opposite side.
Perform this stretch in front of a mirror so you can visualize a straight spine.
To get into the stretch, sit on your knees with your calves and feet tucked under your pelvis. Place your right hand on the floor and your left hand on top of the shoulder, and then lean to the right. Look in the mirror to try to obtain a straight spine. Hold for 20 seconds, and then release and repeat on the other side.
Kelsey Casselbury is a freelance writer and editor based in central Maryland. Her clients have included Livestrong, School Nutrition magazine, What's Up? Media, American Academy of Clinical Chemistry, SmartBrief and more. She has a formal education in personal training/nutrition and a bachelor's degree in journalism from The Pennsylvania State University.