A question that people normally ask is whether exercises to correct scoliosis are effective. Scoliosis is the lateral curvature of the spine. It is a progressive disease. Experts feel that exercises to correct scoliosis are not that effective, as little evidence is found about the effectiveness of exercises. However, exercises do help in slowing down the progress of the spinal curvature and allow for some reduction in the angle of curvature. Stretching exercises are performed to increase the mobility of the spine in the right direction. The physical therapist also tries to improve the muscle tone and posture. The thrust of these exercises is to exert corrective force on the spine in the direction opposite the direction of the curve.
Scoliosis Braces and Exercise to Correct Scoliosis
People wearing scoliosis braces are often suggested exercise to correct scoliosis. These exercises are aimed at helping the wearer adapt to the brace, to allow for correction of the spinal deformity, and to improve trunk muscular tone during the period braces are worn. Braces tend to lead the muscles into losing muscle tone. The physical therapist suggests other exercises for trunk and pelvic correction, which are required to be performed everyday.
Exercise to correct scoliosis does help in a limited way to reduce curve angles by several degrees. This has found to help the breathing process in people who do these exercises regularly. It has not been observed whether the improvement in curvature is of permanent nature. Exercises are not an alternative to surgery procedure. Where surgery is recommended, it should not be delayed in favor of therapeutic exercise.
Scoliosis is not related to flexibility issues or lack of strength. Thus, exercise to correct scoliosis is relatively ineffective. However, scoliosis does not act as a deterrent to normal physical activity. Children and teenagers with scoliosis can participate in sports and recreational activities. They can even perform normal exercises that help build muscle strength and endurance. They can even train to improve their cardiovascular conditioning like normal people.
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Image from page 55 of “Lectures on orthopedic surgery” (1899) (Photo credit: internetarchivebookimages)