Is Yoga a Good Option for Scoliosis Treatment in Prior Lake?

When considering whether Yoga is a good option for scoliosis treatment in Prior Lake, it's important to remember that all should be done as conservatively as possible. However, just because something is conservative and safe DOESN'T mean that it cannot be incredibly effective.

Yoga is meant to develop strength and flexibility in the body, and to achieve better physical balance. Some forms of Yoga incorporate a spiritual component but, in the United States, this is actually quite rare.

Each pose or posture can have specific physical benefits. The poses can be done without much rest in between each of the positions. This has been known to increase body heat, which has some of its own benefits. Also, slower poses and transitions have been known to increase stamina and emphasize a higher degree of accuracy with each pose.

Many of the poses are the same, and it largely depends on the background and preference of the instructor, assuming Yoga is being done in a group setting at an offsite studio. Similar to physical therapy and Pilates, there are special programs for "Yoga and Scoliosis", yet some precautions should be observed.

There is no evidence of structural changes in terms of Cobb angle measurements on X-ray, but most people enjoy the pain management and lifestyle benefits of Yoga. Yoga's main purpose for individuals that have scoliosis is not to correct for the Scoliosis, but instead to improve the strength and flexibility and provide relief of pain.

One misnomer of Yoga for Scoliosis is the assumption that Scoliosis is caused by weaknesses in certain muscles of the spine. Yet electromyography (EMG) testing of the spinal muscles refutes the idea that Scoliosis is due to weak muscles or overactive muscles.

Everyone has a certain amount of healthy muscle tension in the spine just to hold themselves upright against gravity. For individuals with Scoliosis, the normal tone of the muscles is misdirected and uncoordinated when it comes to spinal biomechanics and adapting to gravity.

Postural control centers are located in the brainstem and are regulated by the vestibular nucleus in the brain. The vestibular nucleus regulates the tone of the muscles that run longitudinally down the spine. Since the vestibular nucleus operates independently of voluntary muscle control, it doesn't matter what poses a person may hold and for how long - as long as the vestibular nucleus is regulated the spinal muscle tone, the curves will not change, since the posture sensors in the brain are unaffected.

What EMG studies actually show is that there are tight muscles in the areas of the curves, as if the uneven muscle tensions are trying to "pull" the spine into better alignment. What this means is that attempting to release the muscle tensions with Yoga MAY cause both the curves and pain levels to increase.

Flexibility of Scoliotic curves are most related to curve size and the age of the patient. It is generally understood that better outcomes are achieved when the muscles, ligaments and discs on the inside of the curve are addressed, as opposed to attempting to relieve the muscle tension on the outside of the curve.

Yet, Yoga can still be a useful component of a comprehensive Scoliosis program of treatment. Remember, it is always important to consult with a Scoliosis treatment specialist before layering any home or outside the home self-treatments in order to ensure there are no contraindications in your specific case. No two people or curve mechanics are alike when it comes to Scoliosis.

One of Dr. Pietrek's favorite positions to help alleviate tension in the middle of the spine is a modified version of "Child's Pose", where the buttocks are not fully rested on the heals, allowing for side to side movement while leaning back with hands on the floor (pictured below).

Modified Child's Pose for Scoliosis

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