Thursday, 20 February 2014

Be Physio Savvy: How To Treat Scoliosis

Scoliosis is a sideways S or C shaped bend in the spine that can lead to pain, imbalances in muscles, limitations in movement, poor posture and breathing difficulties. In most cases it comes about from unknown causes and can either be functional or structural. 

Structural means that the spine and ribs are bent and rotated into abnormal positions and fixed regardless of your position.

Functional scoliosis does not have the rotation of the spine and ribs and will disappear when bending forward, this can be corrected with treatment of tight muscles or leg length differences.

The bends and rotations in the spine can be visualized using blocks as below:

The 3 main options given to those with scoliosis are (or a combination of the below):

1. Surgery

2. Exercise and physiotherapy 

3. Bracing

Physiotherapy is the most widely used exercise based, non-surgical approach for management of scoliosis. Following an assessments conducted by a physiotherapist, the exercises will be individually tailored by the curve patterns and severity, as well as the patient’s age and level of function and fitness. They are designed to create awareness of posture and alignment through proper positioning and repetition.

The patient is taught certain positions that will allow expansion of the flattened chest and back areas. Along with prominence of their ribs, many scoliosis patients have flattening of their backs, lumbar spine or pelvis as a result of the curvature. The exercises that improve the flat back, restore the alignment of the pelvis and reduce the protruded areas of the trunk are simple and highly effective in improving function.

The result of physiotherapy treatment and exercises is a decrease in pain, slowing or halting of the curvature progression, and improved cardio-pulmonary function, mobility, and postural stability. S
ome exercises include:

Hip hitch exercise

Pelvic shifting exercise

Hip stabilization exercise : more on conscious awareness of hip position and consciously correcting it before movements exercises

Any exercises involving bending backwards, twisting of ribs, bending sideways or bending the rib cage should be avoided as they put more pressure on the ribs and spine which can cause pain and worsening of the condition. Other exercises like weight lifting also worsens the condition.

Be careful not to engage in certain yoga poses should you have scoliosis. These poses include the cobra, the wheel, spinal twists, shoulder stand and poses which involve the side bending of the spine. Seek physiotherapy treatment to improve your cardio-pulmonary function, mobility, and postural stability. For a general idea on which exercises you should avoid please find out more here.

However, some yoga poses that lengthens the spine do compliment physiotherapy treatment. To name a few poses; cat-cow pose, child pose, triangle pose, locust pose and savasana - which is mostly practiced in Yin Yoga, a more passive and more gentle version of yoga. More information can be found here

A gentle note, yoga compliments physiotherapy treatment. Please seek a consultation with us at Physio Savvy to further guide you on how to treat your scoliosis. We will guide you in what exercises, what yoga poses and treatments best suits you.

Till our next blog post, let's all be more physio savvy!

Written by guest blogger,

Alisha Bajerai
Principal Physiotherapist

More information on Physio Savvy:

Physio Savvy was founded in 2012 in Kuala Lumpur by Australian physiotherapist Alisha Bajerai to provide the highest standards of care by using the latest research and treatment techniques to continually improve the care of our clients. We specialize in providing quality physiotherapy treatment and care for patients and differentiate ourselves with our very hands-on approach.

Our team of physiotherapists are all highly qualified in treating musculoskeletal and neurological conditions ranging from back pain, scoliosis and ACL rehabilitation to stroke and Cerebral Palsy. For a more extensive list of conditions we treat or any other information, visit our website at or Like us on for our regular informative posts and information.

1 comment:

  1. Physiotherapy is one of the best treatment of disease or injury by physical method. Thanks for sharing.