Tag: video blogs

What Is Scoliosis Specific exercise?

Every Scoliosis case is unique, and at the UK Scoliosis clinic, we believe this means each case needs a unique treatment program. Scoliosis-specific exercise is just one of the many tools which we can use to treat scoliosis cases.

Historically, general exercises like Pilates and yoga (sometimes performed in a specific way) were used as an attempted treatment, but modern research has shown that they lack a direct impact on its prevention or control. Fortunately, two specialised approaches, Schroth and SEAS, have emerged as effective tools for reducing scoliosis progression and promoting correction.


Understanding Scoliosis-Specific Exercise

Scoliosis-specific exercises are meticulously designed routines, customised for each patient, aiming to counteract the curvature of scoliosis. Unlike bracing, scoliosis-specific exercise does require consistent effort on the part of the patient since the focus is on self-correction and maintaining improved posture in daily life.


SEAS – Scientific Exercise Approach To Scoliosis

SEAS is an individualised exercise program tailored for scoliosis treatment. It can be used independently for small curves or as a complement to bracing for larger curves and those with high progression risks.


Schroth Method

The first scientific approach to treating Scoliosis with exercise, Schroth was developed in 1921 by Katharina Schroth. The Schroth method consists of over 100 individualised exercises chosen based on the patient’s specific curve. The program addresses functional issues associated with scoliosis, actively working to improve the condition during everyday life, not just during targeted exercise sessions.


Chiropractic Biophysics (CBP)

While not directly designed for Scoliosis treatment, Chiropractic Biophysics deserves an honourable mention. CBP involves a biomechanical analysis of the spine and posture, followed by a targeted program aimed at shifting them back to normal alignment. There’s currently no research which recommends CBP as a mainline Scoliosis treatment, however at the UK Scoliosis clinic we sometimes also use it as part of a comprehensive rehabilitation plan for individuals who are suffering back pain.


Effectiveness of Scoliosis-Specific Exercise

Research indicates that physiotherapy-based scoliosis-specific exercise programs are effective in managing small curves (10-20 degrees) in adolescence. For curves exceeding 20 degrees, exercise alone is not considered sufficient, but it enhances long-term results when combined with bracing. These programs improve muscular balance, strength, spinal flexibility, neuromuscular coordination, postural symmetry, and reduce pain in adults with scoliosis.


Scoliosis-Specific Exercise at the UK Scoliosis Clinic

The UK Scoliosis Clinic offers individually tailored programs as standalone treatments or as part of comprehensive plans involving bracing and complementary approaches. Recognising that one size does not fit all, our clinic emphasises regular review, updating, and modification of exercise programs to ensure continuous improvement tailored to each patient’s needs and abilities.


Scoliosis – Can I Play Sport?

Physical exercise is a vital component of overall health, even for those with scoliosis. At the UK Scoliosis Clinic, we advocate for an active lifestyle during scoliosis treatment. Despite common misconceptions, scoliosis doesn’t necessarily mean avoiding sports altogether – although you do need to ensure your exercise program is not slowing down your treatment.


How to Choose Sports for Scoliosis

While participating in sports and physical activities may not treat scoliosis, they can actually help to address some of the associated muscle weaknesses and imbalances which often come with the condition. Tailored scoliosis-specific exercises are ideal, but any core-strengthening activity could be considered valuable as part of a broader treatment program. Exercise should be approached cautiously to avoid worsening existing imbalances however, so professional guidance is key. In general, we can point to some popular exercises which can be highly beneficial, as well as some which can be problematic.


Good Sports for Scoliosis

  1. Swimming – A low-impact, full-body workout that enhances strength and cardiovascular fitness. Opt for strokes that maintain a neutral spine position, and avoid high-diving.
  2. Cycling – A low-impact sport providing excellent cardiovascular benefits. Limit off-road cycling to avoid high-impact jolting that may compress the spine.
  3. Cross-Country Skiing – Minimises shock to the vertebrae and engages both sides of the body, promoting a strong and balanced spine. Skiing machines at the gym are suitable alternatives for those not located near a slope.
  4. Strength Training – When performed under professional guidance, strength training can strengthen muscles supporting the spine. Emphasise proper form to prevent worsening scoliosis.
  5. Yoga – Beneficial for adults with scoliosis, offering calming effects and potential fitness improvement. Some limited research suggests yoga could assist in treating scoliosis, making it a valuable complement to targeted exercises.
  6. Stretching – Essential for relieving tension, restoring range of motion, and counteracting the spine’s curvature. Be mindful of safe stretches and avoid those that hyper-extend or severely rotate the spine.


Bad Sports for Scoliosis

Certain sports, due to their nature, may load the body unevenly or stress the spine in ways that can worsen scoliosis. While participation is not necessarily ruled out, caution and consultation with a practitioner are advisable.

  1. Gymnastics, Ballet, Dance – These activities, which involve spine-contorting movements, may promote scoliosis. Caution is advised, especially for individuals at risk of developing or already having scoliosis.
  2. Trampoline or Impact Sports – While jumping on a trampoline strengthens leg muscles, it may worsen lumbar scoliosis due to downward landing forces. Impact sports like rugby pose inherent spinal injury risks and are best avoided.
  3. Strength Training with Spinal Compression – Heavy lifting can compress the spine over time. Proper guidance from a scoliosis professional is essential to exercise safely without unnecessary compression.
  4. Tennis, Javelin, Skating – One-sided sports that stress one side of the body more than the other, potentially increasing scoliosis. Balancing with complementary exercises may be appropriate.


Can I Play?

Sports and physical activities are great fun and a key aspect of overall health. Participation in sports is of course encouraged for individuals with scoliosis, however it’s critical that the chosen exercises align with their treatment program.




My Child Has Scoliosis – DON’T Do This!

When you find out your child has Scoliosis the desire to provide the best possible care can be both overwhelming and perplexing. Scoliosis – despite strides in awareness in recent years – is still the subject of widespread misunderstanding, often leaving parents uncertain about the next steps. While swift action is crucial, steering clear of certain pitfalls is equally important. Here are three key aspects parents should avoid when navigating the complexities of childhood scoliosis.


The Problem with Passivity

Given the lesser-known nature of scoliosis many (probably most) parents find themselves unaware of anyone who has experienced the condition. This lack of awareness may create a false sense of non-urgency, potentially delaying intervention. Years ago, the prevailing belief was that surgery was the sole effective treatment for scoliosis, fostering a “wait and see” attitude. However, this approach is problematic, as scoliosis rarely resolves on its own. Seeking prompt consultation with a scoliosis specialist is paramount, ensuring that the condition is actively monitored and addressed. Waiting, in any capacity, is not a viable option when it comes to scoliosis management.


The Price of Ignoring Costs

The financial aspect of non-surgical scoliosis treatment in the UK poses a significant challenge, with limited options available through the NHS. While consulting with a GP to explore local resources is advisable, parents must prepare for potential costs associated with private care. Ignoring or underestimating these costs can lead to irresponsible decision-making. It’s essential to consider two critical factors: the severity of the existing scoliotic curve and the extended duration of treatment. Treatment success diminishes with larger curves, making early intervention more cost-effective. Moreover, viewing costs as a monthly investment over the treatment period provides a more realistic perspective. In some cases, expenses might serve only to delay an inevitable surgery, emphasising the need for informed decision-making based on individual expectations and likely outcomes.


Overlooking Mental Health

The emotional toll of scoliosis should not be underestimated, especially considering its prevalence among teens and young adults. Choosing the right treatment environment involves deciding between group-based and individualised settings. Group settings lack privacy but may offer some peer support, while one-on-one settings ensure privacy without immediate peer involvement. The decision should align with the child’s preferences, emphasising the importance of mental well-being during treatment. The UK Scoliosis Clinic, for instance, prioritises a private one-on-one environment, recognising the impact of a calm and private space on clinical outcomes.


Getting help

If you’re concerned about Scoliosis, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us – we offer Scoliosis consultations online as well as at the clinic with no obligation to take up treatment, whatever you do – be active!



How Fast Does Scoliosis Get Worse?

Scoliosis is a progressive condition – this means it tends to worsen with age, but the speed at which it does this can vary. Scoliosis is known to accelerate during growth spurts, and worsens more quickly in young people than adults. Then again, a form of scoliosis, known as “de-novo scoliosis” is common in older adults, and can also progress quite rapidly.

Each Scoliosis case is unique, and predicting growth rates depends on factors like severity, rigidity, and family history. Broadly speaking, Juvenile scoliosis over 30 degrees can rapidly progress, usually necessitating surgery, while 21 to 30-degree curves may lead to surgery or disability if left untreated[1][2].

Acting quickly and proactively is crucial to halt scoliosis progression and correct curvature before surgery is required.


Don’t wait and see

Research by the British Scoliosis Society reveals that even during the consultation process, scoliosis curves can progress considerably. In a 2018 study, patients waiting for scoliosis surgery experienced rapid curve progression, with some requiring more extensive surgery than initially planned. The study included curves ranging from 17° to 90°, emphasising the need for timely intervention[3].

This shows why “wait and see” is such a bad approach to scoliosis treatment – this study alone highlighted the impact of delayed consultation, turning smaller curves into larger, more challenging cases. This is all the more important when you consider that today, with modern approach to treatment, something like a 30-degree curve has an excellent prognosis with conservative treatments like scolibrace,


Older Adults and Scoliosis

In general, Scoliosis in adults can be described as slightly more predictable. Adult scoliosis cases tend to progress at a steadier rate, but an additional risk arises with age – degenerative or de-novo scoliosis. Caused by wear and tear on spinal discs, this form is common among older adults, affecting about 30% of those over 60[4].

De-novo scoliosis progresses more slowly than childhood or adolescent scoliosis but faster than the very gradual development seen after reaching skeletal maturity and before age 60. De-novo Scoliosis can significantly impact quality of life. Patients often experience back and leg pain, making walking or standing difficult. Standard conservative treatments may not provide relief, and surgery may not be an option due to conditions like osteoporosis.

For these patients, a gentle supportive brace can offer relief, helping them stand more comfortably for longer periods. Early intervention and proper treatment can make a substantial difference in managing degenerative scoliosis in older adults.



Scoliosis progression is not a linear process, it’s unpredictable and that makes taking proactive action as soon as possible all the more important. Waiting for consultation or surgery can lead to rapid and undesirable changes, turning manageable cases into more severe ones. Both young patients with progressive scoliosis and older adults facing degenerative scoliosis require proactive approaches to halt progression, manage symptoms, and improve quality of life.



[1] Charles YP, Daures JP, de Rosa V, Diméglio A. “Progression risk of idiopathic juvenile scoliosis during pubertal growth.” Spine. 2006 Aug 1;31(17):1933-42.

[2] H V Dabke, A Jones, S Ahuja, J Howes, P R Davies. “SHOULD PATIENTS WAIT FOR SCOLIOSIS SURGERY?” Orthopaedic Proceedings. Vol. 88-B, No. SUPP_II.

[3] Angelo G Aulisa et al. “Brace treatment in juvenile idiopathic scoliosis: a prospective study in accordance with the SRS criteria for bracing studies.” Scoliosis. 2014; 9:3. DOI: 10.1186/1748-7161-9-3.

[4] Kebaish KM et al. “Scoliosis in adults aged forty years and older: prevalence and relationship to age, race, and gender.” Spine. 2011 Apr 20;36(9):731-6.