Can pilates help with your scoliosis?
One might think of Pilates as a modern-day exercise program geared toward the athletic type – the person seeking strength, endurance and overall body health. Pilates does accomplish all of these goals, but its applications go far beyond general fitness, like helping combat against scoliosis.
In fact, some of the most challenging body dysfunctions can be treated with a Pilates-based rehabilitation program. Scoliosis is a condition that can be effectively managed with Pilates.
What is Scoliosis?
Scoliosis causes a “C” or “S” curvature of the spine, making it rotate and twist to one side. Most cases are mild, but severe curvature may cause significant misalignment of the shoulders, hips, pelvis and spine, as well as breathing problems due to spinal compression. While these problems can be debilitating, scoliosis need not alter the quality of one’s life.
Additionally, rebalancing the use of muscles around the spine will help manage any misalignment from curvatures to the spine. By better engaging the underused weak muscles, the overused muscles can relax, thereby creating a more equal alignment. A concept that Pilates helps to manage well is the rebalancing of the muscles through strengthening and stretching. Improved alignment of the spine, to allow for more efficient, pain-free movement, is achieved once the muscles are rebalanced with these Pilates-based techniques.
How can Pilates help?
The Pilates focuses on alignment and centering makes it an effective tool to manage the symptoms associated with scoliosis. By rebalancing muscles in the back, elongating the spine, improving breathing capacity and realigning the hips, Pilates-based techniques can help patients with scoliosis enjoy an active, pain-free existence.
Stretching and expanding the spine is a basic concept in Pilates that helps with compression and reduced lung capacity from scoliosis. Correcting the use of the abdominal, hip, and back muscles decompresses the spine. There are many Pilates mat and apparatus exercises that target these muscle groups, thereby building an awareness of posture and spinal elongation. In addition, Pilates helps patients mobilize the rib cage and breathe deeply, which maximizes breathing function and lung capacity.
Scoliosis often results in unequal hip alignment that can cause pain and reduce function. Building an awareness of even hip height can help patients better manage the condition. Pilates exercises train patients to align their hips by recruiting the right muscles around their pelvis and spine. Patients correct their hip rotation and twisting by engaging the right muscles.
In the end.
Pilates is more than an avenue to fitness. It is often the best medicine for body dysfunction, and that includes managing any range of motion loss associated with scoliosis. Although, no exercise or physical therapy can fully straighten or stop scoliosis, rehabilitative Pilates successfully improves functional movement.