Thanks for your words, Sandra, Ryan, Loretta. I will add that indeed I see many folk with a scoliosis who speak to me of back pain, and who are actively choosing targeted ‘exercise’, or yoga therapy to evoke real change in their scoliosis and functionality of their spine.
Pain is well documented in the scientific literature, as being a significant feature in the lived experience of a scoliosis inhabitant. Curve increment has been demonstrated to have a significant relationship with curve ‘flexibility’, the latter being inversely correlated with both pain and progression. Commonly, the people who walk into my yoga therapy studio, announce this feature, along with their concern for future comfort in their body and future movement ease, as being their primary reason for seeking out yoga therapy for scoliosis. I hear people from mid 20's to mid 50's (and beyond) claiming this experiential change and move toward developing a strong, fluid spine, with significantly diminished pain levels.
Initially one has to know well and understand the topography of one's body; one's curve pattern. Each scoliosis is unique, the pathway of lateral deviation and rotation of the spine along its central axis. Remember, that, if the scoliosis is in the thoracic region, it will take with it the ribs. And your lungs. Lung function changes in scoliosis are well reported in the peer reviewed literature. That's your capacity to breathe.
In my work, knowing your scoliotic curve pattern enables intelligent and precise work to be undertaken, with modified yoga poses and with the support of specialised yoga equipment. Home practice enables empowerment, rather than dependency.The body responds to clear, incisive, consistent action! The functionality of the body, and indeed of the whole organism changes. Spines change, breathing changes. A caveat; not all ‘yoga’ is appropriate in a scoliosis. The body must learn great clarity, and in particular, how to work the legs and feet correctly-your foundation!
One of the great challenges in a scoliosis, is how to sense the body; its position in space and its position, one body part to another. Balance is significantly compromised in scoliosis, with imbalances in the vestibular apparatus, again, this phenomenon being well documented in the literature. Gait (walking) parameters are altered in scoliosis, along with fatiguability and recovery of muscles and the cardiopulmonary system during exercise. Osteopenia (lower bone mineral density) is another significant parameter reported as common within this population. Along with the propensity for disc and facet joint injury/lesions within the asymmetric spinal structure-gravity and asymmetric body use are hard task masters.
Scoliosis is a complex phenomenon, impacting the entire ecology of the organism. Human development movement patterns are often underdeveloped, or awry. In particular, developmental patterns of naval radiation, (the body's organisation to its core and the relationships of limb to core), functional head to tail connection the the midline/spine, homolateral (same side) connectivity.
Gosh! That sounds a lot. And it is. And how to manage the terrain becomes the question? How to live with ease of movement, high functionality, strength, and stability? I know what my answer is.
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