10 Best Scoliosis Exercises – Ask Doctor Jo

hey everybody it’s Doctor Jo and wonder Kali,
and today I’m going to show you my top 10 exercises for scoliosis. so this get started. so scoliosis can be a bunch of different
things, and scoliosis can be either postural induced or something that
you’ve had all your life. so sometimes you have a C curve. sometimes you have an S curve. sometimes it goes one way or the other way. so you have to get evaluated
by your doctor or physical therapist to know that. I can’t tell you what that is
since I can’t evaluate you. so these exercises are general exercises. they
should help for all of that, but a lot of times it’s best to know what kind of
curve you have. so let’s start off with bridging. bridging is one of my favorite
exercises it’s easy to do and it really helps strengthen the the pelvis, the core,
and the back muscles. so it’s a really good exercise, and it’s pretty easy to do.
with bridging, what you want to do is prop your knees up. and you want to make
sure you control the movement. so you’re not just coming up and going down like
that. with a bridge you want to really control the movement. kind of go one
segment at a time. but you don’t have to stop at each segment. and when you come
up, really kind of push forward that way. your knees are kind of going that way
versus just kind of popping up like that. so really start kind of one segment at a
time come up, pushing those knees forward, and then nice and slow coming back down.
so again you don’t have to stop at each segment, but that’s what you want to feel.
that one segments coming up at a time, and then same thing going back down. so
you’re kind of curling that back up and down. so I would just start off with
maybe ten of these, two sets of ten, one to two sets of ten, again it really
depends on how severe your scoliosis is, how long you’ve had it .and so since I
can’t evaluate you, I don’t really know those answers. so you’ll just have to use
your best judgment on that. but start off with a little bit and then slowly
progress up from there. so then the next one is just going to be a side crunch.
with side crunches, you don’t have to come all the way up into a full sit-up,
especially if you have some back issues and it’s a little uncomfortable to do.
some people like to hold their hand back here just to kind of support their neck.
some people kind of like to come up in here, but all you’re going to do is just
come up a little bit right here and then just kind of crunch side-to-side. some
people like to have their arms down and then kind of do a side-to-side like this.
you can even have your hands here and then do a little bit of a rotational
crunch side-to-side, but you don’t have to come all the way up, and try not to
stress your neck neck muscles out. I’m coming up just a little bit because I’m
talking to you, but normally I try and get myself in a more neutral position
and then just come up a little bit so my shoulders are coming up off of the floor,
but not my whole body. and again if you have problems getting up off the floor,
you can do these exercises on your bed or on a couch. you don’t have to get down
on the floor if you have a hard time getting back up. so then the next one is
going to be a bird dog exercise. and so that’s just kind of getting on to all
fours with this one. again if you’re not comfortable doing this you know like
maybe it bothers your knees or your shoulders a little bit, you can hold off
on this one. but just kind of getting in this position. what you want to try and
do is keep your back as flat as you possibly can. I know if it’s scoliosis,
sometimes that’s a little hard depending on what kind of curve you have, but you
really want to keep your back in a neutral position. a lot of times when
people go into the bird dog, they end up kind of trying to come up and lean but
imagine that there’s something on your back and you don’t want it to fall off.
so I would start off with maybe just doing your arms first. so you’re just
gonna take one arm and kind of stretch it out and just alternate back and forth.
so if this is easy and you can keep your back in that neutral position, then next
try your legs. so then you’re just going to kick out. so again I’m not kicking up
like this, see how I’m really twisting that back? you want to keep it straight
and just kind of kick your leg out, keeping those the pelvis in a neutral
position. and then if you have that down pretty good, then you’re going to do opposite arm opposite leg. and so it just kind of
looks like a dog a bird dog pointing at the bird. they call it that. so really trying to keep that back as straight as you can,
trying to keep those hips as straight as you can. so not you know coming up like
that, it makes it easier but then you’re not really doing that exercise very well.
so the next ones I’m gonna use a Swiss ball. you can just lie down on your
stomach, but I like using the Swiss ball a little bit better. so Swiss ball. the
next one for that is going to be Ts. so we’re gonna be some exercising the upper
back now. so the reason I like the Swiss ball is sometimes it’s just a little
more comfortable. you can just kind of get in this position. if you want to make
it harder you can bring your knees up off the floor, but you don’t have to do
that. and then all you’re gonna do is bring your arms out to the side with
your thumbs up and then just bring them back squeezing those shoulder blades
together. so again I can lie all the way down on my stomach and do this, but it’s
a little bit harder in the fact that you don’t have as much motion. but I’m what
I’m really doing is just trying to squeeze those shoulder blades together
while my arms are straight with my thumb’s in that upward position. so I
would just start off again with maybe 10, 1 to 2 sets of 10, a couple times a day
and then progressed from there. so then the next one is a back extension
movement. and this is the same thing you can do it lying down on your stomach but
since I have that curve in my hip over the ball, I feel like I can do a little
bit more motion with it. so you might want to start lying all the way down on
the floor, but then if you can work your way up to the Swiss ball or some people
call it therapy ball, stability ball, you can do that as well. so this time you’re
just going to kind of place your hands on the back of your head and you’re just
going to kind of go back bending that back back into extension. so again if you
have scoliosis this might be kind of tough. it might be a little hard it might
be a little bit painful. if you’re feeling any sharp pain or
anything like that you want to hold off on this one, but I’m really just kind of
getting that bend and going into extension. so really kind of working
those back trunk muscles. you can do a little pause if you want to. come back down. you can make it harder by coming up on your knees and then coming
back down, and that adds a balance component to it. so that one’s a little
bit harder. you might just want to start off with five, maybe three sets of five,
and then just kind of see how that goes from there. so then the next one is going
to be a side plank, but we’re gonna do it modified because again depending on how
severe your cases is, a lot of these exercises might be pretty tough to do. so
that’s why you really just want to build them up, you want to modify them. if
you’re still having a hard time, make sure and go see your physical therapist
because then they can modify things even more. so with a side plank modified,
you’re gonna be on your knees. but even though you’re on your knees, you still
want to get your body in a very straight position as much as you can.
if you’re bending up like this, then you’re not quite getting that exercise
right. so I’m just going to start here. make sure that elbow is kind of an
alignment with your shoulder because if you’re too far this way or too far this
way you’re gonna end up getting a shoulder problem. and then you’re just
gonna I like to put my hand on my hip. if you need this for balance you can place
it on the floor and kind of come up, but see how I’m still kind of in a straight
line? so I like holding it up here just so sometimes I can feel if my hips start
collapsing in, and if they do then you’re probably not quite ready for it yet. but
you really want to be in a straight line. if I’m sagging down like this, again I’m
probably not quite ready for this yet. so I’m going to start off with maybe just
like a 10-second hold. eventually you want to work your way up to maybe a
minute, but that’s gonna take you several weeks to do. so don’t try and force it
because if you end up being in pain or hurting yourself some more, then you’re
not gonna want to do any of the exercises, and then it kind of defeats
the point of doing everything. so the next exercise is just going to be a
standing side lean with a weight. so this is just a soup can, vegetable can,
usually they may be at the most one pound,
depends on if you’re getting extra chunky soup or not. but you want to start
off again with something pretty light and work your way up because if you
start off with like a 10-pound weight, you really might end up hurting yourself
a little bit. but all you’re gonna do is just kind of get yourself in a good
stance position, pick it up, shoulder-width apart, and just hold
the weight on one side. and you’re just gonna lean over and then come back up.
but the goal is you’re not kind of leaning forward like this or twisting,
you’re really just bending over towards the side and then nice and controlled
coming back up. so I would maybe just start off with five and then come over
to the other side and do five on the other side, but really try and get that
full side Bend, not twisting, not coming over. so if you have that scoliosis and
this is all you can do because you’re really tight on one side, that’s okay,
that’s that’s fine to do, but just make sure that you’re getting that nice
controlled movement with those exercises. so again start off with something really
light, then you can kind of progress from there.
so then the next one is going to be bear hugs. and so using a resistive band is a
really nice way to do the bear hugs. make sure again you’re starting off with the
lightest resistive band. different brands have different colors, so make sure
you’re paying attention to which one is the lightest one because a lot of times
with resistive bands it might feel really easy, but then after later after
you’ve kind of settled down a little bit, then you’re you’re hurting. so make sure
you’re not overdoing it. again just starting off with maybe ten ,you know two
sets of ten, a couple times a day. but with the bear hugs you’re gonna put it
around behind you. and the goal is is just like you’re going in to give
somebody a bear hug. so if someone was standing in front of me, I would come
around and touch, and then come back around because I don’t want to smack
them when I come back in. keep it a little bit low some people kind of try
and arch their shoulders up, but try and keep those shoulders down and come
around nice big hug, and then come back in. and get that little squeeze at the
end so nice big rounding it out, make sure you’re not taking the person out
when you come back in. so again just start off with a little bit, and then
kind of progress your way up from there. so the last full ones are going to be
squat movements. so again these are a little bit tougher, so make sure that
you’re ready for them. you might not quite be ready for them. you might have to
work up to them a little bit, so the first one is going to be a side squat
with a little bit of a reach. so make sure that you’re keeping good
technique with your squats. squats should be your feet are flat you have equal
weight shift. so you’re not up on your toes, you’re not back on your heels,
you’re keeping that equal weight shift. you’re not taking your knees in front of
your toes because that’s putting all the weight on your toes. so really sticking
your butt back, hinging at your hips, and keeping your back straight. so when you
go to step out, you’re stepping into that squat. and as you step you’re gonna reach
over. But see I’m keeping my knee kind of where it is, I’m not leaning over past
my toes. it’s still staying in that range. so I’m coming down, reaching over, coming
back up. squat down, reach over, come back up. if you want to alternate back and
forth, squat down, reach over, come back up, you can. but make sure that you’re not
doing this because then you’re going to know having your knee hurt you. so make
sure you’re doing good controlled movements, proper technique,
and if you don’t feel like you are being the exercise is not worth it to end up
and even hurting something else. so the last thing is going to be a squat with a
reach to either the opposite knee or the opposite foot depending on how much
flexibility you have and how much balance you have. so all still the same
techniques where you’re doing that correct spot squatting to get that
correct technique.and when you come down into the squat, I’m just going to rotate
it over a little bit and touch the outside of my knee. if this is easy and
you can do a lot, and you can keep that good form, and you have no problems, then
you can eventually squat down and touch the outside of your toes. but again if
I’m doing this and really leaning over, and putting all that weight on that side,
then it’s not worth it because you’re gonna end up hurting something else. so I
would just definitely start at the knee and just get that little bit of a
rotation with that squat. so those are your top 10 exercises for scoliosis. if
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and remember, be safe, have fun, and I hope you feel better soon.