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Does a Simple Yoga Pose have the Power to Reduce Scoliosis? According to a New Study, Yes!

Practicing a simple yoga pose for only two months reduced the curvature from scoliosis by an average 32 percent in a group of adults and teens. Adolescents who were the most compliant—practicing the side plank more than three times a week–improved the spinal curvature by 49.6 percent.

Researchers at Manhattan Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation in New York City studied 25 adults and teens with scoliosis. All participants were asked to do the side plank yoga pose–only on the side of the curve, which is the weaker side. They were instructed to hold the pose as long as possible (up to two minutes) and do that six times a week. Participants went through an exam and x-ray prior to planking. They then underwent a second x-ray an average of 6.8 months later to look for any changes resulting from doing the yoga pose.

Done consistently, the pose strengthens the muscles on the convex side to help reduce the curve of scoliosis, according to study author Loren Fishman, M.D.

Common treatments for scoliosis include spinal fusion surgery and the much more conservative approach of bracing. Untreated scoliosis can progress at 7 percent a year, and result in disability and life-threatening health risks, according to the study. When exercise is recommended, it’s often not what researchers are suggesting in this study, with one pose, done only on one side. The National Scoliosis Foundation (NSF) recommends, for example, that patients do 25 yoga poses on both sides, according to the researchers.

“Asymmetrically strengthening the convex side of the primary curve with daily practice of the side plank (yoga pose) held for as long as possible (up to two minutes) for three to 22 months appeared to reduce the primary sclerotic curve,” the paper concludes.

Physical therapists are the exercise experts. Physical therapy approaches are designed specifically to address back pain, including that from scoliosis. For more about how a physical therapist can help you prevent or relieve back pain and back injury, contact A Physical Therapist, Inc.

A Physical Therapist, Inc., is a one-on-one physical therapy clinic in Delray Beach, Fla., and Harrisburg, Penn. For patients in Palm Beach County, A Physical Therapist, Inc., is easily accessible from Boca Raton or Boynton Beach. For patients in Dauphin County, A Physical Therapist, Inc., is easily accessible from Hershey and Marysville.

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