Yoga for Scoliosis – Can Scoliosis Yoga Cure Scoliosis?

Many people hope scoliosis yoga will help treat or cure idiopathic scoliosis or even believe that they can treat their scoliosis themselves. The assumption here is that scoliosis is caused by weakness. This belief is based on a misunderstanding of scoliosis in general and why the spine is curving. The current scientific literature shows that EMG (Electromyography) testing goes against the assumption that scoliosis is caused by weak muscles. The muscles in scoliosis patients aren’t weak; they are misdirected and uncoordinated in terms of postural control. Postural control centers are located in the brain stem and are controlled subconsciously (automatically). What this means is while one can stand up straighter through voluntary effort, an individual does NOT have direct control over how their spine orients to gravity. Due to this fact when you consciously contort your body into a yoga pose it does not influence the automatic posture centers of the brain. Therefore, these poses will have little to no effect on the “automatic” spinal muscles that are actually pulling the bones which create a scoliotic spine.   These same EMG studies have shown that the very tight muscles on the outside of the curve are actually attempting to pull the spine straighter. Therefore, there is every reason to encourage that type of muscle tightness. If you release it with yoga for scoliosis, you may actually increase the scoliosis. Curve flexibility in scoliosis is a very complex and poorly understood mechanism that appears to be primarily related to curve size and patient age. There are ways to bio-mechanically improve curve flexibility. By using passive stretching mechanized therapies that primarily target the ligaments and discs on the inside part of the scoliosis spinal curve, flexibility is enhanced in a targeted way. Stay away from releasing rigidity on the outside of the curve with general scoliosis yoga. That being said, “scoliosis yoga” still can be a useful component of a complete scoliosis treatment program. It can also be a fun way to encourage children and the family as a whole to exercise. Scoliosis yoga (as any other supplemental stretching or exercise regime) MUST be used in conjunction with a full scoliosis treatment program and there are specific precautions to adhere to so please read the corresponding articles about precautions, risks and yoga moves to stay away from if you have scoliosis!!!! With home exercises for any condition, it is always important to consult with your physician treating your condition before beginning any regimen.

yoga exercises for scoliosis          yoga and scoliosis

There are many sources of literature on Scoliosis Yoga and online resources with how-to guides but this does not mean that scoliosis can be treated by oneself. It is still important to discuss any supplementary exercise with your doctor first to make sure it is suitable for you. Everyone’s scoliosis is different and therefore your yoga routine may need to be modified to fit your specific needs. It is never wise to attempt to treat your scoliosis on your own even if it is a mild curve. For further reading

Yoga for Scoliosis – Can Yoga Make Scoliosis Worse?

Yoga for Scoliosis – Proceed With Caution

Yoga for Scoliosis – Moves to Avoid

Posted in Scoliosis Exercise
9 comments on “Yoga for Scoliosis – Can Scoliosis Yoga Cure Scoliosis?
  1. Ro Taylor says:

    where can i go for classes on Yoga for Scoliosis. i am 70 years old and my back and neck is getting worse with pain.
    thank you

    • Ro Taylor says:

      Does an inversion table help??

      • Dr. Andrew Strauss says:

        Inversion is a type of traction to the spine. and… Yes, I use traction as a component of the mobilization of the spine phase of care. The potential problem with mobilizing a scoliosis is that if you unlock the curve, but do not guide the spine back into a more aligned or balanced posture, the curve can become worse. If you unlock it, you must guide it back to alignment! I use a sophisticated method called neuro muscular re-education using weights and cantilevers to guide the spine and posture back to balance.

        Thanks for the question!

    • Dr. Andrew Strauss says:

      Not such a simple question! There are instructors that are specifically trained for scoliosis yoga. Have a look at the website
      //www.yogaforscoliosis.com/index.htm
      I am a lifelong yoga adherent and I have the DVD from Elise Browning Miller and I like it!
      While it is not corrective, it is an excellent way to gently stretch the spine.
      Please take note of the precautions on my webpage, Yoga is powerful and if used incorrectly can aggravate scoliosis!

      Thanks for the question!

  2. nikki m says:

    I have recently just stopped growing and discovered I have scoliosis. I have 29º & 16º curve. Every doctor I’ve seen and everybody I have talked to has told me here is no hope and everything else is a scam. Is this true? Am I stuck like this forever? Please help!!!

    • Dr. Andrew Strauss says:

      No! It is not true!
      There are many things that can be done.
      Exercise therapy is an accepted approach to scoliosis. Please review the before and after pictures and stories to get an idea of results.
      Each case is unique and must be evaluated to determine likely results.
      I would encourage you to send me a picture of your most recent Xray and I will look it over.
      Next Month, May 2013, I am attending a world conference of conservative scoliosis care in Chicago //sosort2012.org/
      If this was all a scam, do you think experts from all over the world would be attending the conference? Obviously no. the doctors you have seen would seem to be uninformed! Look for a new article that I am writing called “Is there a conflict of interest” It is about how orthopedists see the world of scoliosis surgery.
      Best regards,

      Dr. Strauss

  3. Chris W says:

    I don’t think your website addresses the question of cost or of the extent to which your treatment may be covered by insurance.

    • The variety of insurance companies and policies make any generalizations about insurance coverage difficult. Blue Cross has over 2000 different policies alone.
      Please contact my office and we will advise you on an individual basis.
      Best regards,

      Dr. Strauss

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