Scoliosis in Adults

Do you have scoliosis?

You might have scoliosis without even being aware of it. The only symptom you might have is occasional backache. Scoliosis can develop during adolescence, and can sometimes develop around the age of 30 due to asymmetric and unbalanced manual labor or physical activity.

Causes of mild scoliosis in adults:

Manual labor – unbalanced physical work and even sitting improperly at a desk. 
Asymmetric physical activity such as tennis (operating the body in a manner that’s not balanced between right and left). Emotional reasons – frustrations regarding finding one’s purpose, relationship issues, and achieving professional success. 

How do you treat scoliosis?

Treating adult scoliosis is based on acceptance – the permission to be you, and the ability to trust and let go. Adhesions in the fascia (connective tissue that wraps our muscles – a thin and transparent sheath that develops adhesions due to chronic muscle contractions) can only be opened in a lasting way after the ability to let go had been developed. Treating adult scoliosis is easier, compared to treating adolescent scoliosis, due to the awareness and motivation adults possess. 

Sometimes you discover that you’re more bent than you thought… 

Occasionally, the case of scoliosis only reveals itself well into the treatments as part of the releasing and part of the freedom that’s created around the spine. We might discover scoliosis while on the path to finding solutions for better posture. It’s not simple at all – to accept yourself this way, more bent than you thought you were. Become friendly with your scoliosis There’s a way to regard your scoliosis that’s more effective than tightening your muscles unconsciously. The more effective way involves finding your central axis, learning how to use it, and learning how to balance the flow of your body weight between the two sides of your body – left and right. Concurrently, you need to strengthen the weaker side, and loosen up the stronger side. You also need to practice exercises that neutralize the effects of the curvature on the spine. 
All these together create a combination of freedom and flexibility around the spine and, as a result, create ease and comfort in your body. The result: better functioning that prevents future deterioration of the scoliosis.

Structure-balancing exercises for people with scoliosis

The first exercise for scoliosis is opening the palm of your dominant hand. This exercise is taken from Paula Garbourg’s natural exercise method. All of the exercises in Paula’s method are triggers – they activate natural movement. Therefore, beyond giving the command to open the palm, you need to give permission and extend your body an invitation to perform any additional or accompanying movements it feels the urge to perform (over time and gradually). As the process progresses, the subcortical part of the person’s brain (which is subconscious) finds new ways to open up the dominant hand which normally tightens. These new ways involve a total re-organization of the way the forces moves in the body, and unlike yoga where you follow external instructions, this happens from within - the body is leading the way to find the right solution through trial and error.
The second exercise for scoliosis (also from the Paula Method) is called "M.S" It incorporates elements from the first exercise, and adds elements that activate and strengthen the weaker side. You do this exercise on a mattress lying down on your back. Stretch your dominant hand over your head as an extension of your body, and look towards that hand. The dominant leg should lie straight on the mattress and the other leg should be bent and held by the non-dominant hand – this is what activates the weaker side. Stay in this pose for a little while and increase the duration slowly based on how you feel. As before, the body is invited to make any movements in response – stretching, tilting, or tightening - as long as it remains on the back and within the constraints of the exercise. Practicing this for long periods of time (10-20 minutes) stretches the dominant side (which is normally tight when there’s scoliosis), and activates the muscles of the weaker side. Combined, this diminishes the imbalance between the two sides.
The third exercise for scoliosis also comes from the Paula Method, but it can also be attributed to isometric exercises. The exercise has two parts. The first part deals with the strengthening and the balancing of the legs, particularly their inward facing side, and the abdominals. The exercise is performed lying down on your back with both legs bent towards your chest and held with their respective hands. The top of each foot (the part that’s closest to the toes) should be touching one another. Press with one foot against the other and simply resist with the other foot so that there’s no external movement. You then switch roles between the feet. Notice for which foot it is easier or harder to push. Push twice the times with the one that’s harder until it feels balanced. The second part of this exercise is similar to the first part but with the palms of your hands. You can do it lying down, sitting, or standing. Simply put your palms together in front and close to your chest and press just like in the previous exercise. A different version of the same isometric exercise is done by pulling the hands instead of pushing.
All the above exercises will be more effective if you first go with Rolf`s Structural Integration.
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