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.
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