Scoliosis often begins in adolescence but can also occur later in life due to chronic habits that cause a deformation of the spinal column; women who carry their small child on the same hip or their purse on the same shoulder can create a "functional scoliosis" that causes chronic back, shoulder, and neck pain but is easily treatable by first becoming aware of the various causes and then working to balance the posture by lengthening the concave side and strengthening the convex side of the main curvature. A new study by Loren Fishman et al (to be published in September, the abstract is available now)) studied 25 individuals of various ages over a period of time as they practiced a single yoga pose, the side plank, to one side. Those who were best at practicing often and regularly achieved the greatest reduction in their primary curvature but all saw some reduction.
Why does this matter? Previously, the only treatment options were wearing a brace for most of the day, surgery to make the spine straight, or nothing. Bracing is highly effective but can be uncomfortable; best results are seen when specific exercises are practiced with the bracing. Surgery does straighten the spine and keeps it straight but since the underlying cause of the postural imbalance remains unaddressed there can still be pain as full movements of the spine are no longer available. Doing nothing might result in the curvature becoming worse over time; severe curves compress the organs and can cause serious side effects that shorten the lifespan and significantly reduce quality of life.
You don't need an official diagnosis to learn more - if you have noticed that your back has a lateral curve, or you feel pain on one side of your back that you haven't been able to reduce with medication you may benefit by attending my upcoming workshop on Yoga for Scoliosis at Haven on the Lake in Columbia - a two hour introduction to simple breathing techniques and movement tweaks to help you learn to balance your posture:
Oct 10, 2015 from 1:30-3:30pm
Yoga helps stretch muscles that have tightened and strengthen muscles that have become weak from scoliosis. The result for most people is better posture and less pain. This workshop will teach yoga modifications and targeted breathwork that specifically target the challenges of scoliosis and assymmetric low back pain. .
Call Haven on the Lake directly at 410-715-3020 to register.