How to Exercise with Scoliosis


Scoliosis is actually quite common (in fact according to the National Scoliosis Foundation, there are currently close to 7 million people living with scoliosis in the United States) and if you understand your spinal curves, be sure to pay attention to improving your alignment so you can live a long active pain-free life with scoliosis.

Individuals with scoliosis may experience some kind of pain and discomfort while exercising (depending on the severity of your curvature and other factors); however, it is important to note that exercising is also an important tool for managing your scoliosis as well as your overall well being. Today, we go over how to exercise with your scoliosis, including what exercises to do and not do.

What is Scoliosis

What Is Scoliosis?

Scoliosis is a lateral curvature of the spine in excess of 15 degrees. There are two types of scoliosis: structural and functional. Structural scoliosis is where your spine has an excess lateral curvature due to underlying structural abnormalities in the bones and/or tissues of the spine - meaning your bones are mis-shaped. Functional scoliosis is where the spine is curved as a result of a misalignment in another area of the body, such as different leg lengths, also known as leg discrepancies.

What Problems Can Scoliosis Cause?

Scoliosis can cause nearly every type of musculoskeletal pain, including but not limited to the following:

  • Disc bulges
  • Joint pain
  • Muscle imbalances 
  • Tendon issues (as the spine is a giant compensatory unit, with each vertebra compensating for another)

What problems can scoliosis cause?

How Should You Workout if You Have Scoliosis?

In general, your spine is meant to move, and keeping your spine moving through its full range of motion will be significantly better for your long-term health than avoiding exercise because of fear. Here are some exercises we recommend doing that are safe to do with scoliosis: 

  • Spinal flexion exercises
  • Extension exercises
  • Rotation 
  • Tilting exercises 

Train doing body weight exercises, use light weights, and pick up movement habits like pilates, barre, and yoga.

Exercises to do with scoliosis

What Exercises Should You Avoid if You Have Scoliosis?

Avoid adding compressive weight on your spine. If you are unsure as to how to align your spine properly, it’s likely best that you avoid heavy weighted squats, deadlifts, shoulder presses, heavy impact activities, or anything else that adds more weight to your spine. 

If you know how to realign your spine, which you can learn through our realignment programs in the MoveU Membership, then the sky's the limit- you can add as much weight, repetitions, and impact as you know that you can do, because you’ll understand your limits.
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