Exercise and Scoliosis

We’ve talked about scoliosis-specific exercise in another blog, but what about other exercises? What is safe? What should we avoid? Will they make the scoliosis worse?

When someone begins a scoliosis-specific exercise program, like Scolio-Pilates, their next question is can I still… [fill in the blank with your favorite activity]? The short answer is, “yes.”  The longer answer comes when you tell us that you are in pain when you do whatever it is that you love.

Often, when someone begins Scolio-Pilates, all their activities begin to feel better. They go back to yoga classes, weightlifting, cycling, gardening, etc.  However, sometimes it’s not that easy. Sometimes they want to return, but the activity causes pain. Then we have to work together to find out exactly what it is that your body is not tolerating well. Is it the side-bends in yoga? The rotations in gardening? The repetitive movement in cycling? Or the compression in weightlifting? Whatever it is, it can generally be worked with. We can either find workarounds or “work-withs.”  Sometimes its a matter of thinking about the same scoliosis corrections that we are performing in Scolio-Pilates and simply applying those to the activities you love. That makes it a win-win. You are doing your Scolio-Pilates homework and what you love to do, all at the same time. Perfect. 🙂

Another common concern that we get is, “Will [fill in your favorite exercise] make my curve worse.  There is no evidence for this, and believe me, the scientists have definitely been looking for a connection. Take dance, for example. Approximately 25% of all professional dancers have scoliosis. Well, that seems to say that dance causes scoliosis. Or maybe it just makes it worse to the point of being diagnosable. This has been studied often, very often. Still, there is no connection. Perhaps the connection is simply that those with scoliosis also tend to have looser connective tissue, making them perfect candidates for dance that requires greater than normal flexibility. 

The goal of Scolio-Pilates is to add exercise management to the model of scoliosis treatment.  In Europe scoliosis, specific exercise is much more accepted.  Two of the main European schools are The Schroth Method in Germany and SEAS in Italy.  There are seven major schools for scoliosis specific exercise, and they are all in Europe.  Here is a great article reviewing the seven schools “Physiotherapy scoliosis-specific exercises – a comprehensive review of the seven major schools.” 

Scolio-Pilates is the only US-based school striving to bring not only scoliosis-specific exercise to North America but also internationally.  We are currently on four continents, teaching professionals how to help their clients and patients with scoliosis. 

Whether you are someone living with scoliosis or a professional helping those with scoliosis, join our Scolio-Pilates On Demand here. You will have two weeks of free scoliosis-specific exercises with a live class every Thursday at 3 pm ET (New York, USA) and access to over 100 classes. It’s time to take control. Be a Scolio-Mover!”


Berdishevsky H, Lebel VA, Bettany-Saltikov J, Rigo M, Lebel A, Hennes A, Romano M, Białek M, M’hango A, Betts T, de Mauroy JC, Durmala J. Physiotherapy scoliosis-specific exercises – a comprehensive review of seven major schools. Scoliosis Spinal Disord. 2016 Aug 4;11:20. doi: 10.1186/s13013-016-0076-9. PMID: 27525315; PMCID: PMC4973373.

Looking for help with your own scoliosis?


Exercise and Scoliosis