How to Fix Scoliosis with Strength Training

Posted on 26. Dec, 2010 by in Exercises, Injuries / Rehab, Physiology

How to Fix Scoliosis with Strength Training

A former college football player sent in a video question.  He’s in his senior year, has finished playing ball and has started bodybuilding to stay fit.

It turns out that the scoliosis that came on during a growth spurt in his teens is really starting to bother him and he wants to know what he can do about it.

He’s a man with a problem and he’s looking for a solution.  This is my kind of guy.

First of all we need to understand what scoliosis is.  For those who don’t know it’s a lateral bend to the spine.

Our spines are supposed to have four natural curves.  One is in the neck or cervical spine.  Then there’s the thoracic spine or upper back it curves in the opposite direction.  That curve is reversed again in the lumbar spine and then finally the sacrum has a bit of a curve to it as the coccyx tucks into the pelvis.

The thing about these curves is that they’re all front to back, meaning the curves run toward the anterior and posterior aspects of the body.

A scoliosis is a curve in the lateral plane or to the side.

A scoliosis can be classified as either functional or structural.

A functional scoliosis is one caused by muscular imbalance.

A structural scoliosis is due to bone deformity.

Obviously for the purposes of this article we are speaking of a functional scoliosis.  Structural scoliosis is a much more complicated condition and needs the help of a specialist.

Functional scoliosis can have multiple causes.  One important cause that must be addressed and eliminated before any physical changes can occur is viscero-somatic inhibition.

We’ve covered viscero-somatic inhibition in other articles but what it means here is that a dysfunction in an organ or organs may be affecting a neurological loop which includes certain muscles along the spine, effectively shutting them off.

With these muscles shut off the spine is imbalanced and can’t stand straight.  Scoliosis occurs.

The initial organ dysfunction may be as a result of improper diet.  Inflammation can result from eating foods not ideal to your body type.  The first step is to make sure that you and your diet are right for each other.

The other cause can be injury.  Interestingly enough this can be either physical or emotional injury.

We often forget the innate connection between our thoughts and feelings and our bodies.  Certainly a bad enough car wreck or bike crash can set up muscular imbalances that stay with us for years.  Emotional trauma can do just the same, either with or without an accompanying physical trauma.

Once diet and organ imbalance have been negated as potential contributors the next step is to begin to correct the imbalance.

First we have to identify the nature of the curve.  Specifically you want to find the convex (bows out) and concave (bows in) aspects.

Then you want to choose exercises that will help drive the convexity back in.

When a muscle is tightened it shortens its length.  When relaxed it gets longer.

The concave side of the scoliosis is the tight side.  The convex is the weak side as the longer muscles are pushed out by the shortened hypertonic ones.

Strengthen the weak and lengthen the strong.

You can do this by doing side crunches on the convex side and stretches on the concave.

Focus on unilateral exercises and think about “pushing the bulge back in.”

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