National Scoliosis Awareness Month 2019
Happy National Scoliosis Awareness month!
This year, TOPS is celebrating National Scoliosis Awareness Month in June by sharing a series of drawings that illustrate ‘Ten Simple Exercises for Scoliosis and Fusions’ one at a time over the course of the month.
These exercises, drawn by director and teacher Martha Carter in her simple ‘stick-person’ drawing style she uses for all her classes, suggest easy movements that anyone can try at home, the gym, the yoga studio or, in the case of the first two, in the car, on a plane, or at your desk.
Each one is designed to help people with scoliosis and/or fusions to find new awareness and sensation in their spines, as well as their whole body.
Regardless of your age or ability, the simplicity of each pose makes them accessible to everyone. They are meant to help each person calm their often over-charged nervous system, while also learning ways to relax, decompress, stretch, re-pattern, and strengthen the spine.
We suggest that you try one at a time, in order. Take time to really feel each one, observing how they may feel slightly different each time you do them. Even though they are simple, they can be very powerful and effective. By the end of the month, you can continue to do the ones that you find most helpful, and you can also choose to do them one after the other in order as a kind of ‘flow’ sequence.
ABOUT THE FOUR MAIN PATTERNS of SCOLIOSIS
Before beginning this exercise series (or any exercise for that matter), it is VERY important that you learn about your own particular scoliosis curve pattern.
Observe the chart below, keeping in mind the following important points:
The figures are not anatomically correct as they do not show the right number of vertebrae.
Everyone’s curve is different in its position (higher or lower), in its length (how many vertebrae are involved), and in its rotation (all curves also twist backwards towards the convex side).
Everyone’s pattern is unique, and they sometimes go in the opposite direction. For example, the first drawing shows a thoracic curve going towards the right - which is by far the most common direction for thoracic curves - but some go to the left. Lumbar curves are mostly to the left, but sometimes they go to the right, etc.
VERY IMPORTANT: Study your x-rays or consult an experienced specialist to learn the direction, placement, and pattern of your own spinal curvature. By learning this, you can then identify your ‘convexities’ and ‘concavities’ and apply that knowledge to all your activities, including everything from exercise to sitting to sleep. This information will be the key to your learning how to improve your posture, reduce discomfort and, perhaps most importantly, will give you a sense of empowerment around your own body and living with this confusing, confounding condition!
TOPS HINT: The best way to learn about your curve pattern is to take a private consultation, class, workshop, or retreat with a scoliosis specialist from the TOPS Team! Find out about our upcoming workshops here.
STAY TUNED for our ‘Ten Simple Exercises for Scoliosis and Fusions’. And don’t hesitate to get in touch if any questions.