6 Best Stretches For Scoliosis

6 Best Stretches for Scoliosis Thumbnail

Scoliosis refers to the abnormal curvature of the spine. When viewed from the side, a normal healthy spine has curves that bend forward at the cervical spine (neck section) and outwards in the lumbar spine. This helps in distributing weight and flexibility of movement. However, in scoliosis, the spine is curved sideways and rotated. Read on to learn more about scoliosis and the Stretches for Scoliosis.

This abnormality of the spine causes problems in body mechanics, such as uneven shoulder blades, uneven hips, and breathing problems because of decreased space in the chest for the lungs to expand, and also includes disturbing back pain that needs to be relieved. Most often, this condition has no known cause, also called idiopathic scoliosis.

Stretches for Scoliosis-Scoliosis

3 Types Of Idiopathic Scoliosis

The age at which the deformity developed categorizes three types of idiopathic scoliosis. These are infantile, juvenile, and adolescent idiopathic scoliosis.

Infantile idiopathic scoliosis develops from birth to 3 years old. Juvenile idiopathic scoliosis develops from 4 to 9 years old. And adolescent idiopathic scoliosis develops from 10 to 18 years old.

Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis is the most common type of scoliosis because this is where children undergo rapid growth, and early detection at this stage is important for a better prognosis.

Aside from this, scoliosis can be categorized as structural or nonstructural scoliosis. Structural scoliosis refers to the spine’s curve caused by a disease, injury, or congenital (congenital disabilities) and is permanent. In comparison, nonstructural scoliosis refers to the spine’s curve caused by postural problems or irregularities within the body. It is only temporary and can be treated with the Stretches for Scoliosis.

Anatomy Of The Spine

33 bones stack on top of each other to compose the spine. The function of the spine is to provide the body’s main support, allowing you to stand upright, bend, twist, and do other movements. It also protects the spinal cord from any injury.

It is divided into five regions, cervical (neck), thoracic (upper back), lumbar (lower back), sacrum, and coccyx regions. An adult spine has a natural S-shaped curve when viewed from the side. Both the cervical (neck) and lumbar (lower back) regions have a slight concave curve, while the thoracic (upper back) and sacral regions have a gentle convex curve. This normal curvature of the spine acts as a shock absorber during movement, maintains balance, and allows a range of motion. The abdominal and back muscles help in maintaining these natural curves. 

Stretches for Scoliosis-Anatomy of the Spine

Different Types Of Scoliosis Curves

If the scoliosis curve looks like a backward c shape and is typically bending sideways to the right, it is called dextroscoliosis. If the scoliosis curve looks like a regular c shape and is bending sideways to the left, it is called levoscoliosis.

Below are the most common types of scoliosis curves that may be treated with Stretches for Scoliosis:

1. Right Thoracic Curve

This curve bends to the right side of the thoracic region, also known as the upper back.

2. Right, Thoracolumbar Curve

This curve bends to the right side, which begins from the thoracic region (upper back) and ends in the lumbar region (lower back).

3. Right Lumbar Curve

This curve bends to the right side that begins and ends in the lumbar region (lower back).

4. Double Major Curve

This curve involves the right thoracic curve on the top portion of the spine and the left lumbar curve at the bottom. Typically, people with this kind of curve don’t show obvious deformity because it balances each other out.

Scoliosis Symptoms

Often, mild scoliosis can go unnoticed, but if it progresses, signs and symptoms can be observed so you can plan your Stretches for Scoliosis.

Below are some of the most common symptoms of moderate to severe scoliosis.

  • Pain

There are several causes of pain from scoliosis. The most common cause of pain is the result of pressure on your spinal discs and facet joints which can also cause local inflammation or joint discomfort. Aside from this, the muscles that support your back may tighten and become fatigued over time which causes pain.

  • Limited Range Of Motion

The abnormal spine curve can increase rigidity, reducing the spine’s flexibility and limiting its range of motion.

  • Gait Problems Or Problems With Walking

The abnormal curve of the spine causes uneven hips, which can change a person’s gait or how they walk. This is because the body compensates so that it can maintain balance and equilibrium. This also causes the muscles to tire quickly.

  • Difficulty Breathing

In severe scoliosis, the rib cage can twist and reduce the space for the lungs, which could interfere when it expands during breathing. Bone might also push against the lungs and make breathing more difficult.

  • Cardiovascular Problems

Similar to what causes difficulty in breathing, the rib cage can twist and reduce the space for the heart, which interferes with its ability to pump blood to the whole body.

Management And Treatment

Treatment for scoliosis includes bracing, exercise, or stretches for Scoliosis and surgery.

1. Bracing

If the curve has progressed more than 20-25 degrees, a back brace may be recommended until the patient has developed skeletal maturity. By wearing this often, it prevents the curve from progressing and prevents possible surgery.

2. Exercise

Exercise offers many benefits for people who have scoliosis. It can help build and maintain the strength of the core and back muscles, which are essential to support and stabilize the spine. It can also reduce pain and fatigue and improve muscle imbalances caused by scoliosis.

3. Surgery

Surgery may be recommended if bracing and exercises fail to prevent the curve from worsening. Posterior spinal fusion is the most common surgical procedure, which can offer better corrections and fewer fusion levels, which preserves back mobility more.

7 Best Stretches For Scoliosis

Exercise for scoliosis depends on the location of the person’s scoliosis curve. If they have lumbar scoliosis, an exercise focusing on their lower back is the most beneficial. While if they have thoracic scoliosis, an exercise that focuses on their upper back should be done.

Consulting your doctor or physical therapist is important to create a well-rounded exercise routine specifically for your case.

Below are some of the best stretches for scoliosis:

1. Pelvic Tilts

Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Then, you can place your arms on your sides or spread them on the side at shoulder level in a T-position. Engage your core while flattening your back towards the floor. Hold this position for 7 seconds before returning to the starting position. Make sure your breathing is normal. Complete 10 repetitions, 1-2 sets.

Stretches for Scoliosis-Pelvic Tilts 1 Start

Stretches for Scoliosis-Pelvic Tilts 2 End

2. Arm And Leg Raises

Lie on your belly on the floor with your legs straight and arms raised over your head with palms facing down. Then, engage your core and raise your arms and legs up and off the floor. Hold this for one full breath, then lower it back down to the starting position. Lastly, complete 10 repetitions, 1-2 sets.

Arm and leg raises 1 Start

Arm and leg raises 2 End

3. Cat-Cow

For this part of Stretches for Scoliosis, go down on all fours. Then, make sure your hands are directly under your shoulders and your knees are under your hips. Inhale, draw your abdominal muscles in and up while arching your back. Exhale, then release your abdominal muscles while dropping your back until your belly is downwards, and raise your head towards the ceiling. Finally, complete 10 repetitions on each side, 1-2 sets.

Cat-Cow 1 Start

Cat-Cow 2 End

4. Bird Dog

Go down on all fours. Make sure your hands are directly under your shoulders and your knees are directly under your hips. Raise one arm straight out in front of you while raising the opposite leg behind you. Hold this position for 7 seconds before returning your arm and leg to the starting position. Make sure your breathing is normal. Complete 10 repetitions, 1-2 sets.

Bird Dog 1 Start

Bird-Dog 2 End

5. Latissimus Dorsi Stretch

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and knees slightly bent. Now raise both of your arms over your head and grab your right wrist with your left hand. Then slightly bend your body towards the right side until you feel a gentle stretch on the left side. Hold this position for one to two full breaths, then return to the starting position. Repeat on the opposite side. Keep alternating between these two sides. Complete 10 repetitions, 1-2 sets.

Latissimus dorsi stretch Posterior view

6. Abdominal Press

Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Raise both feet off the floor until your thighs and feet form a 90-degree angle. Using your hands, push your knees away while also pulling the knees towards your hands with your abdominal muscles. Only the muscles should be activated, and no joint movement is observed. Hold this position for three full breaths and then relax. Complete 10 repetitions, 1-2 sets. 

Abdominal press 1 Start

Abdominal press 2 End


The outlook for people with scoliosis depends on the type of curve, its cause, and its severity. Early detection can result in a good prognosis because different management can be done to prevent the progression of the curve. However, for more severe cases, it will more likely get worse, especially if the child stops growing. This is why it’s important to look for early signs and symptoms and consult a doctor for appropriate treatment.

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