I have C-curve scoliosis that my parents found out when I was about five. After the growth spurt, the healthcare team assigned to me decided to let me wear a brace and go through surgery, which I am now actually thankful for.
I am lucky that growing up, I never really felt that my scoliosis distracted or stopped me from doing the things I loved, although I do acknowledge that there are side effects to the misalignment of my body. When I reached the age of 18, I started doing yoga and I am still doing it today. It is this yoga journey of mine that made me understand the ways of my scoliotic spine and how to deal with it.
It technically means a lateral curvature of the spine. While in normal circumstances, your spine would be erect and straight, with scoliosis, it creates an S or a C curve. This curve may be present in the thoracic, lumbar, or sacral spine.
The two primary types of scoliosis are functional and structural. Most of us have a mild category of functional scoliosis, which may be due to repetitive activities to only one side of the body, like carrying your bag on one particular side for years. This happens typically because of muscle development instead of something structural or innate.
Structural scoliosis, on the other hand, affects the structures of the body and is mostly discovered in childhood. This type of scoliosis results in muscle tightness on one side of the body, leading to one lung having less space than the other. Most individuals with moderate to severe scoliosis have tried medical and surgical treatments or routine appointments when they were kids. But what can yoga possibly offer?
Yoga For Scoliosis
If you want to incorporate yoga into your other exercises to help alleviate your scoliosis, the goal is to release the tight muscles that have been contracted and to increase the strength of the weakened muscles. The key is to understand and accept the way we are built and the way we are. We must not expect yoga to correct the curve of our spine miraculously, but it certainly provides us with solutions on treating our bodies to enhance health and improve balance.
Useful Yoga Poses
- To Lengthen The Spine
Cat and Cow. This stretches the supporting muscles of the spine and provides an opening of the vertebrae.
Child’s Pose. It relaxes the back muscles.
- Asymmetrical Poses
When you have scoliosis, the two sides of your body have different necessities, so it is important to work with asymmetrical types of poses to isolate the various muscles that you need to work on. You will also need to do poses for both sides to emphasize balance.
- The Twists
Some books and articles report that twists may not be useful for scoliosis, there has been plenty of evidence that it does help improve scoliosis. It is effective in releasing energy from the spine. You can start twisting while seated with the spine erect and the feet together. Your restriction or tolerance for pain will depend on your body. Let it guide you.
- Triangle Pose. This lengthens and widens the spine. You can reach towards a chair to concentrate on lengthening the thoracic spine by flexing forward. This is for the concave or hollow side. For the convex or rounded side, on the other hand, try to reach the lower hand to your shin and your upper hand towards the sacrum instead of reaching out to the ceiling. All these emphasize twisting on your upper body and opening of your shoulders.
As with any condition – mild, moderate, or severe – it is always wise to see a doctor and having yourself checked before starting this yoga journey.