Scoliosis affects about 3% of the world's population and typically more women than men. Due to the imbalances in the body scoliosis is often associated with aches and pain, limited mobility and sometimes even respiratory problems. The visible nature of some curvatures can impact confidence and lead to negative self image.
Treatments include physiotherapy, osteopathy, bracing and in severe cases even surgery. Exercise is often recommended but can also have a negative effect due to the imbalanced muscle function. What about yoga? How can yoga help with scoliosis?
Structural vs Functional Scoliosis
A structural scoliosis involves abnormal development of the spine either during fetal development, childhood or adolescence.
A structural scoliosis is always visible on an x-ray no matter what position the patient might be in. This is in contrast to the functional scoliosis which might not be visible when the patient is lying down.
How can you determine if your scoliosis is functional or structural?
In the Adam’s forward bend test the structural scoliosis would be visible (hump on one side) whereas the functional scoliosis would not be visible.
Functional scoliosis can be caused by asymmetries in the body due to different muscle strength on one side to the other. It might also be caused by different leg length which causes the pelvis to tip to one side.
How can Yoga help with Scoliosis?
The benefits of yoga have been proven in many studies and include increased strength and flexibility, balance and stress relieve. But what about practising yoga specifically for scoliosis? Can it help with scoliosis and even reverse curvature?
There have not been enough studies to show that yoga can actually help to reverse spinal curvatures but many patients report that their curvature has not progressed negatively while practising yoga or has even been slightly reversed.
Benefits of Yoga for Scoliosis
- yoga can help to relieve muscle tension and pain
- it helps to strengthen the muscles that are weak due to the imbalances in the body
- it's a non-invasive way of managing scoliosis
- it helps to realign the body
- it helps to re-educate muscle function that has been affected by scoliosis
- find balance both physically and mentally
- yoga is done by you for yourself
- it is your practice and you are in complete control
Practising yoga will probably not straighten your spine. But it will help you to relieve the aches and pain, to feel balanced in your body and mind and it will teach you to be more compassionate with yourself and be open to experiencing transformation and new found freedom!
Remember that you are in control.
Find out more about Yoga for Scoliosis classes with Christine Jaureguiberry