Scoliosis Stretches that Work

Scoliosis Stretches that Work

Scoliosis is a curvature of the spine usually diagnosed during early childhood or adolescence which is primarily between the ages of 10 to 15 years old. Scoliosis afflicts about 6-9 million Americans and can be treated using a fitted brace or spinal fusion surgery but it cannot be cured.

Various muscles around the spine can almost change jobs just to keep the body in balance. As a result, the muscles could end up in a perpetual struggle which may cause pain, discomfort, imbalance, systemic issues, and sometimes injury.

These scoliosis stretches that work are fast, easy options to get ahead of a minor curvature or relieve and maintain good range of motion (ROM) for a more advanced curvature. These stretches are also good for those that do not have scoliosis but want to strengthen their back to prevent or reduce pain.

Maybe You Have Scoliosis

Some people are never diagnosed as having scoliosis and can sometimes struggle with unexplained pain, particularly back, hips, knees and neck.

According to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS) these are scoliosis symptoms:

  • Shoulders are uneven – one or both shoulder blades may stick out
  • Head is not centered directly above the pelvis
  • One or both hips are raised or unusually high
  • Rib cages are at different heights
  • Waist is uneven
  • The appearance or texture of the skin overlying the spine changes (dimples, hairy patches, color abnormalities)
  • The entire body leans to one side

Be a Board

The side plank pose on the affected scoliosis side has shown to offer possible, significant improvement.

Start in regular plank pose which is lying flat on your chest and stomach and then with your hands, palm down by each shoulder and legs straight, prop yourself on to your elbows and toes holding tight your core (abdominal and back muscles).

To get into the side position simply turn to the affected side so your arm is now straight out to the floor holding up your torso with legs straight out one on top of the other. The other arm reaches toward the ceiling (or sky).

Hold this position for a breathing count of 10. Do ten times two times a day. 

It is okay to work the other, non-affected side as well.

Researchers at the Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City published a study of the plank pose for scoliosis in Global Advances in Health and Medicine which found that,

“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 scoliotic curves”

Get Dog On It

Downward dog is a double movement (some call it upward-downward dog) very popular in yoga. This exercise creates flexion and hyper-flexion giving your back muscles two very effective stretches.

  • While face down, plant the palms of your hands on the floor by your shoulders and with your toes pushed into the floor, lift your bottom so your body goes into a downward V position.
  • Legs and arms go straight.
  • Hold here while breathing in your nose and out your mouth 3-5 times.
  • Then, in one fluid movement, bend your arms, bring your face straight toward the floor with your chest following, legs bending, as your head, face and neck glide down and then up toward the ceiling.
  • Your chest opens, your lower back shortens and your arms straighten.
  • At the last moment release your toes and drop the tops of your feet on to the floor 
  • Do the same breathing here and then repeat the sequence.
  • Perform 2 to 3 sets of 5 to 10 reps (one rep is comprised of both movements) twice per day. 

Surf the Floor

The erector spinae muscles make up three sets of muscles running alongside both sides of the spine. Needless to say that, with scoliosis, the erector spinae become significantly challenged.

This arm and leg stretch elongates and strengthens the back muscles, particularly those affected by scoliosis, like the erector spinae.

  • Lie face down, while breathing in your nose and out your mouth, extend and lift your left arm and right leg at the same time.
  • Hold each up and out for a count of 5-10. 
  • Switch to the other two opposite limbs for the same stretch. That’s one set. 
  • Do 3-5 sets two times per day.


Pelvic tilts are a subtle exercise that, when done right, can considerably strengthen your core. This involves your abdominal and lower back muscles like the quadrates lumborum as well as engages the hip flexors. When these are muscles are strong, scoliosis symptoms could significantly diminish.

  • Lie on your back
  • Raise knees up with the bottoms of your feet flat on the floor.
  • Tighten and hold your stomach muscles while pushing your lower back toward the floor for about 5-10 seconds.
  • Breathe short spurts in your nose and out your mouth.
  • Then release and breathe deep
  • This is one set.
  • Do 10-20 two times per day. 

Don’t let scoliosis hold you back. These scoliosis stretches that work can be incorporated into any daily routine. You don’t need a special place to go or machines to work on, just a small space and about 15-20 minutes (probably less as you get more familiar with the poses) If these stretches help you improve, don’t hesitate to go to the next level and join a local yoga class where you would surely expand your progress.