According to the National Scoliosis Foundation, scoliosis (a sideways curve of the spine) affects an estimated 6 – 9 million people in the United States. Scoliosis can lead to chronic pain, difficulty breathing and unbalanced muscle development. Practicing Pilates, a low-impact exercise system, is an active way to reduce pain by helping people work on alignment, strengthen weak muscles and lengthen tight muscles. Pilates is safe for those with scoliosis but as always you will want to consult your doctor before attempting any exercise routine.
In Pilates we focus on moving from the center (your Powerhouse) to help stabilize or mobilize different areas of the body depending on the exercise being given. In a typical session, the spine is moved through flexion, extension, lateral flexion (side-bending) and rotation (twisting). These are considered to be healthy spine movements. It is also important to incorporate asymmetrical movements especially for those with scoliosis because of imbalances in the body from one side to the other. Another area of focus would be strengthening the back and pelvic alignment to protect the spine.
Of course, Pilates is not a cure for scoliosis. It cannot reverse the curve of your spine but it can help you move better, stand straighter and feel stronger.