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Pilates For Scoliosis

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What is Scoliosis and where does it come from?

Scoliosis is defined as a lateral bend of the spine of 10 degrees or more. Unfortunately, Scoliosis can be much more complex than that, and it can be caused by an almost endless number of circumstances or other medical conditions. Often, Scoliosis is polycausational, meaning it ended up that way due to a myriad of reasons. Scoliosis involves lateral curvature of the spine. Curves are generally C-shaped or S-shaped, and the curve is named by the side of convexity. There may also be rotation of the vertebrae, thus, the spine is in an abnormal position in the sagittal and transverse planes. Many cases are mild but can become severe. The lateral curves that characterize Scoliosis can cause the spine to spiral and alter the transmission of forces from head to toe. These 3-dimensional rotations appear as one hip higher than the other, uneven shoulders and prominent ribs on one side. The physical imbalances can cause pain in the low back, rib cage and neck as well as nerve symptoms down one leg.

Types of Scoliosis of Spine

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Not all Scoliosis cases stem from the same source, therefore, not all Scoliosis clients will look or move the same.

How Pilates Exercise Can Help Scoliosis

Pilates can help relieve the physical pain and spasming that can result from Scoliosis by unwinding these 3-dimensional spirals, through elongation of the spine, centering the torso and creating more muscular balance throughout the body as a whole. Pilates teaches exercises that create natural length in the spine, through muscular engagement, so the spine can be “pulled” out of these spirals. The curves themselves also must be directly addressed as there is often muscular hypertrophy on the long side of the curve, due to the body trying to right itself. Once these deviations are lessened, then the core is strengthened to help “set” the changes. A functional/muscular Scoliosis will respond very successfully to a Pilates program. A structural Scoliosis cannot be undone but can be managed very effectively with Pilates.

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Why Pilates for Scoliosis

Everyone can experience the benefits of building strength through Pilates. Research has shown that Pilates exercise training is effective in improving Scoliosis by correcting poor posture, strengthening the muscles necessary for postural correction and maintaining body balance. Slow and isolated Pilates movements can activate and work small muscles, build positive body awareness and give a sense of your alignment when you are living with Scoliosis. These are learned skills that are powered by your mind-body relationship, so stay focused and ask questions. By being attentive to your body and increasing exercises like modified Pilates, you open yourself to learning what works for you and how to mindfully manage your Scoliosis.

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