No one hates exercise more than I do. It’s a constant struggle. Thank goodness for an occasional sunny day and friends to walk with, or exercise might not happen for me.
This morning, an unusually beautiful one for December in New England, I was panting my way around the local track, and for some reason the term ‘scoliosis exercise’ popped into my head. I began thinking how that term must scare off so many adults with scoliosis–yes, scoliosis this a constant source of thought in the Moramarco world.
I realized the term ‘exercise’ is probably somewhat scary, especially to adults in their 50‘s, 60‘s or 70‘s with scoliosis who are beginning to slow down due to the limitations that may come with scoliosis as aging occurs. Several women in particular have emailed or told me in conversation that they have no choice but to stop their day by early to mid-afternoon because that is all their body will give them. Others have told me they’ve noticed breathing is beginning to be difficult, and they are concerned.
Even without scoliosis, I know how hard it is to get motivated to exercise. I imagine that, for those who have scoliosis, it would be all-the-more intimidating to start an exercise regimine. But, there is something that can truly help, and it’s called scoliosis exercise. I’m sure some people will dismiss it, thinking it is not for them, that they just are not up to it.
Well, here’s the good news. I think the term ‘scoliosis exercise’ is a bit of a misnomer. I don’t consider it “exercise” the way most people think of exercise.
It is important to make this distinction because it could make a difference for someone. Although it is mostly adolescents with scoliosis who have filled the schedule lately, adults from places beyond Massachusetts who have come to learn Schroth from places like Pennsylvania, Connecticut, New Jersey and New York, South Carolina and California, are truly pleased with its benefits. Please don’t let the terminology ‘exercise for scoliosis’ scare you away from getting conservative care for scoliosis.
Like traditional exercise, the Schroth Method requires effort, but it can improve health and spinal stabilization, and increase lung function for those with scoliosis. And, like exercise, the Schroth Method requires dedication and a commitment to experience benefits.
However, I prefer to refer to Schroth as ‘scoliosis-specific exercise.’ Just what is that, though? It may be helpful to know that while performing Schroth ‘exercises,’ the only large muscle engaged in movement is the diaphragm. In scoliosis, the diaphragm is typically displaced, but the Schroth Method works to correct that. The diaphragm is what powers the lungs while performing Schroth rotational angular breathing and it is these specific movements that help lung functionality to improve.
The critical difference to me is that the term “exercise” implies physical exertion and endurance that some with scoliosis may not feel capable of. Because the large muscle involved in ‘scoliosis exercise’ is the diaphragm, you can see that Schroth doesn’t require that traditional exertion thought of when thinking of exercise. In fact, Schroth exercises usually do not even raise a person’s heart rate significantly. What these can do is improve breathing and help eliminate pain and stiffness because the exercises mobilize the rib cage.
Scoliosis rehabilitation is focused on the spine, trunk and chest. As you practice, improvement occurs because the musculature surrounding the spine is strengthened and stabilized. This is all accomplished in the most effective way, in three planes, for maximum spinal benefits for a patient’s particular curvature.
So, as you can see, there should be no fear when it comes to scoliosis exercise. If you make the decision to learn Schroth you will not require any running shoes or massive amounts of stamina. However, when you’ve mastered the Schroth Method, you may just want to take a jog around a track, simply because you may be able to!