Q: I have a question about the exercise program, Hard Core Scoli. In addition to scoliosis, I have significant kyphosis, which I suspect many scoliosis patients have to one degree or another. Are the exercises OK for kyphosis as well? Are there any I should avoid? Are there any other exercises that are particularly useful for kyphosis? It would be great to have an article about this. Thank you for your work in this area.
A: For a quick answer, if you have kyphosis scoliosis you’re safe to workout to Hard Core Scoli.
Now, let’s go a bit deeper about kyphosis scoliosis. Scoliosis is a lateral, or sideways bend of the spine 10 degrees or more. Kyphosis is a forward bend of the spine that is too much, past the normal about.
When working out with kyphosis, you want to focus on extending, or arching the part of the spine that is too kyphotic or that bends too far backward (sending the head too far forward).
Exercises like swan, flight, breaststroke, and swimming from Pilates, which I do in Hard Core Scoli, are perfect examples. For those exercises you’re on your belly on the floor and arch up off the floor. Baby Cobra in yoga is another example that can be great.
Basic planks or bird dogs, also done in Hard Core Scoli, are also great for kyphosis. Think of really firing the muscles along the spine where the kyphosis is and arching the bones just in that area while keeping your neck long and your belly really held in tight.
If your kyphosis scoliosis is in your ribcage area, which is the location of most people’s kyphosis, make sure that is where you are arching. Do not over arch your neck or your low back.
In kyphosis the back is already too rounded, so you might want to avoid exercises like crunches, roll-downs, rolling like a ball, roll-over, and other exercises that focus on the ribcage curling forward. Those exercises shouldn’t hurt your spine, but they won’t necessarily be rehabilitative for your kyphosis. A few of the exercises I mentioned are in Hard Core Scoli, so if you deem that your specific spine shouldn’t do a particular exercises then simply substitute in another exercise.
Always remember, your goal is to bring the spine back to a “normal” position.
I put “normal” in quotation marks because no one in the scoli community has a “normal” spine, including myself. I have lordosis scoliosis, which is the opposite of kyphosis scoliosis. The vertebra in my ribcage area are too far forward making my whole spine look like a flat board. We all have unique spines, and it’s OK.
Love on your spine and work on getting more normal curves back into your spine, but give yourself some grace in the process. I’d highly recommend you record all your specific scoli exercises, or kyphosis scoliosis exercises if that’s the case, in one place.
I created My Scoli Journal to do just that if you don’t already have a place to record them. Go love on your spine!