pilates for scoliosis

6 Exercises of Pilates For Scoliosis Patients – Fitoont

Pilates for scoliosis is a great way to reduce spinal curvature. In private lessons or in pairs, with the help of a teacher who has undergone specific training, this wonderful system will allow him to gain principles of muscle recruitment that can help him in the direction of better alignment and bring him more daily comfort.

But first, let’s know what is scoliosis?

Scoliosis is a lateral curvature of the spine with torsion. The spine is often S-shaped (rarely inverted) with cervical curvature, dorsal flexion, and lumbar curvature.

In 80% of cases, the causes are unknown. In other cases, it may be congenital or caused by an accident or asymmetry (bone, muscle, diaphragm, etc.).

Generally, scoliosis is asymptomatic. But it’s important to detect it as soon as possible (during development) to increase the chances of successful treatment or prevent it from getting worse. Since spinal misalignment not only changes the distances between the vertebrae, it transforms the entire individual’s skeleton. Sometimes, these abnormalities can put pressure on the organs and cause pain, respiratory complications, etc.

In adulthood, the chances of being able to “straighten” the spine are very small. But there are ways to relieve the pain of scoliosis. There are also ways to strive to strengthen certain muscles and lengthen others, in order to guide the bones into a more natural alignment.

Are Pilates exercises effective for treating scoliosis?

Nowadays, there are various physical activities that can help improve the quality of life of a person affected by this spinal alteration, one of which is Pilates. Physiotherapists say, “The Pilates method is ideal both as a treatment supplement and as a rehabilitation for any disease. Therefore, it can also be successfully applied in cases of scoliosis.”

It’s important to note that scoliosis is classified as a chronic condition, so, as Kyrillos explains, “Pilates will not fix it, but it will help prevent it from getting worse over time thanks to the muscle work that is being done.”

Before beginning your practice, it is essential that the person with scoliosis discuss it with a physiotherapist. You can contact us for online session. “Scoliosis has different degrees (mild, moderate, moderate), so the Physiotherapist must know the situation the person is in to identify specific exercises that do not put them at risk.”

The main benefits of Pilates for scoliosis

As Kyrillos explains, the main benefits of the Pilates method in cases of scoliosis are the following:

It slows down its evolution:

“Through regular practice, we will ensure that there is no worsening or that it goes to a more advanced stage,” explains the physiotherapist.

Reduces pain:

As a consequence of the exercises that reinforce all the muscles, the pain that it can cause is reduced.

Muscle toning of the entire area:

The exercises tone and stretch all the muscles that surround the spine and, therefore, the entire affected area is strengthened.

Correct body alignment:

Postural re-education is essential to improve scoliosis and Pilates achieves it. “In addition, with this method we learn to stabilize ourselves. Strong muscles, proper alignment of our body and correct body awareness are the direct benefits that we can obtain from working with Pilates”, says Kyrillos.

As a physical therapist and scoliosis therapist, I am often asked the following question:

  • What sports can I do with scoliosis?
  • What sports should be practiced by young people and children with scoliosis?

Since I became interested in Pilates exercises, I came to the decision to introduce Pilates as a complementary exercise to get rid of scoliosis, as a sport after the first phase of physical therapy or after a brace.

Pilates, as a training method, has been an integral part of fitness for a few years, but it’s also recognized in therapy, especially for treating back problems. Fascia training methods are currently very subjective and are used in a variety of ways. Training Pilates for scoliosis patients is known to be complex and requires a varied training plan. Our training program includes aspects of Pilates in addition to fascia training.

Pilates is a gentle training method that places great value on movement quality, precision, flow of movement, breathing and strengthening, especially the core muscles – all points that also help with scoliosis.

Breathing and Pilates for scoliosis

Breathing plays an important role in Pilates exercises. On the one hand, all movements are accompanied by breathing, that is, with conscious exhalation through the mouth and inhalation through the nose. What is called centering, trunk activity, is controlled by exhalation. Centralization basically means the interaction of the pelvic floor, diaphragm, and muscles. The special thing about this trunk tension is that it allows deep stabilization of the spine while exhaling at the same time. Likewise, the entire chest is moved and the intercostal muscles activated through targeted breathing. This means effectively counteracting chest deformity.

The abdominal muscles are important for stabilizing the spine because they are connected to the back muscles via the fascia and thus help the back muscles to stabilize the torso

In the Pilates method, the goal of each individual movement is to work as precisely as possible. The focus is not on the number of repetitions or resistance, but on moving as efficiently as possible based on good body awareness. Therefore, few repetitions are performed with high precision. A high level of body awareness is the key to effective postural control. So the main focus in Pilates is more on the “how” than on the “how much”. Precise guidance and constant checking of the movement execution are very important in order to correct the typical avoidance patterns due to scoliosis and to establish a new cognitive movement program. I also need this conscious movement and the development of a good body feeling for successful work in scoliosis therapy.

Pilates exercises treat fascial system to prevent scoliosis

With the help of the Pilates method, muscle groups and muscle chains are trained in a targeted manner. The muscles are embedded in a fascial system that runs through the entire body.

Fascia essentially describes what the layman understands as “connective tissue”. If fascia is not moved enough, it tends to stick together and lose elasticity, causing it to pull and shorten the surrounding tissue.

This fascia forms the so-called drag lines across the entire body in units in which they operate. The long muscle fascia chains together with the bones form a tension network. This dynamic system interacts very well. If a muscle is activated in one place, the entire system interacts via long fascia chains.

In my reflection, I combine knowledge of the benefits of Pilates training and knowledge of these myofascial pathways. The exercise sequences are made up of classic Pilates exercises and specific exercises on the corresponding myofascial pathway.

Exercises of Pilates for scoliosis:

There are Pilates for scoliosis that are especially indicated when you are experiencing this spinal alteration. Fitoont Physiotherapist Kyrillos Mina recommends the following:

Pilates would be a good workout for you with scoliosis because:

  • You work very consciously with your body and pay close attention to the quality of your movement.
  • Your breathing is used specifically to mobilize and stabilize your trunk.
  • You specifically strengthen the muscles of the torso.
  • You consciously work on straightening your spine.

In the following I show some Pilates for scoliosis patients:

  • The exercises should be individually adapted through individual training.
  • The training can be done on the Pilates machines but also on the mat with small devices, so it can be implemented as a home program and in small groups.
  • Depending on the individual, the exercises are repeated differently to one side or with different numbers of repetitions, or the exercises are adjusted differently depending on the scoliosis until they are precisely tailored to the patient and his or her scoliosis.
  • The exercises shown below are just examples.
1- Swimmer Exercises:
  • The following examples are presented for a thoracic right convex scoliosis.
  • Start with prone position.
  • Soft ball is placed under the breastbone.
  • The torso is raised until the body lengthens.
  • Both arms can be stretched forwards or alternatively the left arm can be stretched forwards and the right arm backwards.
  • The pelvis is kept stable by tensioning the abdominal, pelvic floor and back muscles.
  • The spine is extended over the vertex.
2- kneeling side bending with a circle
  • The following examples are presented for a thoracic right convex scoliosis.
  • Start in a kneeling position.
  • The circle comes next to the right leg below the right hand.
  • Left arm is pulled toward the ceiling.
  • The entire trunk extends towards the ceiling.
  • Then lean to the right in the thoracic spine while pressing the right arm on the circle.
  • The left arm continues to pull toward the ceiling.
  • The load on both knees is kept the same
3- Lateral position on the right over the roll
  • The following examples are presented for a thoracic right convex scoliosis.
  • Start with right lateral position.
  • The lower arm is stretched under the head and the roll is placed under the highest point of the convexity.
  • The lower leg can be bent or straight.
  • The upper left side is stretched, for reinforcement the arm can also be raised over the head.
  • When performed on the opposite side, the upper right side can be lifted against gravity to strengthen core muscles.
  • In order to pay attention to the fascial lines, the right arm is taken diagonally forward and the right leg slightly diagonally backwards.
  • Prior to the lift, the arm and leg are reinforced into extension and then lifted to assist fascia sliding in either direction.
4- Pelvic curls:
  • When lying on your back with your legs bent apart, the spine is lifted off the floor by a vertebra.
  • Inhale to get ready and as you exhale slowly.
  • Then gradually begin to separate from the mat, sacrum, and lower back until you are supported by the shoulder – not the shoulders or neck – maintain this position by taking a breath, as and when you do.
  • Release it, pulling from the navel to the spine and lowering the vertebra by vertebra, reaching the lower back before the sacrum.
  • Repeat the sequence 5 or 6 times.
5- Superman:
  • In the quadrilateral position, one grasps the four pillars of the body with the ground.
  • Takes a deep breath and when he exhales from his mouth, the heart activates, simultaneously extending his right arm and left leg.
  • Inhale back to the starting position and exhale again, extending the other arm and opposite leg.
6- Pilates For Scoliosis PatientsSide by side:
  • Lie on your back on the mat.
  • Next, the legs are placed at 90 degrees and the arms are slightly open to the sides, pressed to the floor with the palms of the hand.
  • Inhale and let your knees come down to the right side and your head to the left.
  • When the air is released, everything is brought to the central axis.
  • Then it is repeated on the other side.

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