Addressing Scoliosis with Pilates & Yoga

Addressing Scoliosis with Pilates & Yoga

According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, Scoliosis affects nearly six million people in the U.S. alone. Making it the most common spinal deformity in our society. Scoliosis is a generic term that refers to any imbalanced curvature in the spine due to a genetic predisposition, or habitual muscle patterning.

Either way, exercising has shown to be extremely beneficial in addressing issues associated with Scoliosis. Especially, exercise modalities known to emphasis core strength like Pilates and yoga.

Scoliosis in its simplest terms is a problem of asymmetry. Ideally the right and left sides of the body should be balanced equally with strength, flexibility, and alignment. Scoliosis is classified in two ways, structural or functional. Structural scoliosis is a genetic disturbance in the normal growth pattern of a healthy child.

Approximately 70% of those afflicted are girls, and higher rates of occurrence are evident in young athletes. The highest rates are among female dancers, gymnasts and swimmers. Nonstructural or functional scoliosis is due to imbalanced muscular loading on the spine. It is a reversible curvature that appears in a structurally normal spine. The causes for functional scoliosis can be due to lower limb discrepancy, poor posture, and chronic repetitive motion.

In structural scoliosis, there is generally a predominant C or S curve and several secondary or compensatory curves. The most common curve occurs in the upper part of the thoracic spine. The compensatory curves often develop in the opposite direction either above or below the major curve. The body compensates for these structural misalignments by creating a concave side of the trunk and a convex side of the trunk. The spine is not only curved to the right and left, but usually has rotation or a spiral also. Scoliosis is measured in degrees and is categorized as being mild under 20 degrees, moderate 20–40 degrees, and severe is over 40 degrees.

Surgery may be recommended for severe scoliosis, but only a very small percentage of cases are in this category.

“For the non-operative scoliosis patient there is nothing better than exercise,” says Dr. Ramin Bagheri of the San Diego Center for Spinal Disorders. “My main goal is to the have my patients keep their back muscles, core abdominal muscles and spinal musculature in tip top shape.” He highly recommends Pilates, Yoga, and swimming to his scoliosis patients regularly.

The principles and repertoire found in Pilates and yoga are very detailed in spinal alignment, balance, strength and flexibility. Making them the perfect option to help overcome issues associated with scoliosis. At Align, we strongly advise anyone who has scoliosis to attend private sessions first. Eventually joining classes once they have a clearer understanding of their curvature and the method of movement. Everyone is unique, and so to are the curves in scoliosis. Private sessions will allow one to learn and understand their own body’s curves and imbalances. Giving them the proper tools to combat scoliosis with movement, and produce the best results possible.

If you want to get in shape, better your life, or just need help with finding the best Pilates and yoga experience, connect with Nicole or Cara by calling (949) 481-3577, stop by the studio at 31896 Plaza Drive, Suite E-6 in San Juan Capistrano or visit