We believe that this article will bring you a ray of hope if your quality of life is seriously affected by scoliosis. This serious medical condition, in which the spine is curved sideways, can cause huge discomfort and problems in life. Approximately 6 million US citizens of all ages have scoliosis. The onset of the condition, however, most frequently occurs among children aged 10-15.
The reasons for its development are unknown in most cases, but scoliosis can also be caused by genetic factors, neuromuscular diseases and advanced age. Physical injury can also lead to spine curvature.
More severe cases of scoliosis, in which the curvature is around or greater than 45 degrees, usually require a surgical correction, which carries its risks. A non-invasive corrective method, aimed for younger patients whose bones are still growing, is bracing.
Most scoliosis patients of all ages need to do lifelong physical exercises. Both kinds of therapy can cause emotional anguish and physical discomfort, especially for adolescents.
Fortunately, there is evidence that practicing yoga can offer significant relief from this condition.
A lady rose from the wheelchair thanks to yoga
An elderly lady Anna Pesce, a life-long scoliosis patient with a serious spine curvature, had reached a turning point in her life. In 2014, the pain in her back became so unbearable that she could barely walk and had to be confined to a wheelchair most of the time.
This brave woman, however, refused to give up hope and decided to try out all the possible methods to strengthen the affected muscles in her back. These included chiropractor treatments, physical therapy and acupuncture, which offered only short temporary relief.
On her daughter’s initiative, Anna met an experienced yoga teacher, who had also been cured of unbearable back pain thanks to yoga practice. Performing various yoga postures caused great discomfort in the beginning, but Anna persisted in her endeavors and received amazing results after only one month.
Namely, she regained her ability to walk, which was close to a miracle having in mind her age and the seriousness of her back condition.
After two months’ time, Anna knew exactly which yoga exercise to do in order to relieve the pain in the particular part of her body. For example, if she was experiencing pain in the hip area, she would do an ankle-to-knee posture sitting on a chair.
Anna openly expresses her satisfaction with these words: “I feel wonderful now because I can drive by myself and do the things I wasn’t able to do before. I would recommend this to other people.”
A new scientific research confirms the healing effects of yoga on curved spine
A group of researchers led by Dr. Loren Fishman from the Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons have decided to test the effectiveness of a yoga posture called “vasisthasana”, or the side plank, on the spine curvature. The trial included both male and female patients aged 14-85. They were asked to practice the pose on the weaker side of the body once daily, or preferably more, for approximately 20 seconds.
Dr. Fishman explains why the patients were asked to perform the pose on the side of the curvature:” Since scoliosis is an asymmetrical condition, I have treated it asymmetrically, asking patients to do the pose on the weaker side only. That strengthens the specific spinal muscles on the convex side that are needed to help with curve reduction.”
X-rays taken after almost 7 months of practicing the posture showed significant reduction in curvature in both the teenage group and the adult group of patients. The results were better among teenagers, where the curvature was improved by 40.9 %. The overall improvement for all patients was approximately 32 %.
The researchers have made the following comment on the study results: “Asymmetrically strengthening the convex side of the primary curve with daily practice of the side plank pose held for as long as possible for an average of 6.8 months significantly reduced the angle of primary scoliosis curves. These results warrant further testing.”
The article with the study results is entitled “Serial case reporting yoga for idiopathic and degenerative scoliosis” and it was published in the journal Global Advances in Health and Medicine. (source)
Yoga exercises hide benefits for overall health
Multiple studies have shown that yoga has extremely positive influence on the health.
It has produced amazing results in the field of mental and emotional wellbeing. In the midst of hectic and preoccupied lives, overloaded with short deadlines and bombarded by new information almost every minute, it is no wonder that a huge number of people suffer from panic attacks, stress and anxiety.
Regular yoga practice leads to a relaxed state of mind, helps us keep calm and stay focused, and drives away negativity from our system.
Furthermore, serious health conditions can be prevented and even healed with regular yoga practice. These include cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, arthritis, fibromyalgia, obesity, weakened muscles, insomnia, and even cancer.
It is truly inspiring and encouraging that doing simple yoga postures can bring us such relief from mental and physical suffering.
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Sources: theheartysoul.com; besthealthguide.com; medicalnewstoday.com