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Q. What are some exercises I can do to strengthen my back? I have scoliosis.
A. First of all, after doing all the research it is EXTREMELY important to obtain medical clearance from your doctor before you start any exercise routine. There are so many levels of severity in scoliosis that exercise might hurt you instead of help you.
Scoliosis is a sideways curving of the spine that can often result in an “S” shape or “C” shape of the spine.
As most of us know, regular exercise and sports participation yield many health benefits. These advantages of exercise can, and should, be enjoyed by adults with scoliosis. Exercises improving strength and mobility in the hips can help reduce daily stresses on the back, which can lead to reduction in pain. In general, a person with a back that’s flexible and strong will feel and function better than if that same back is weak or stiff ó whether or not scoliosis is present.
Patients with curves less than 40 degrees can be involved in pretty active programs (with a doctor’s permission). Those with curves higher than 40 degrees need to be evaluated by a professional on a case-by-case basis.
You should focus mainly on aerobics, which could be walking, cross training, swimming etc.
After your cardio workout, make sure you have cooled down and stretched before the following floor exercises:
nElbow props. Lie on stomach with head turned to one side. Relax in this position for about 3 minutes. Then prop on elbows, maintaining this position for 2 minutes. Keep lower back completely relaxed. Return to start position and relax for 1 minute. Repeat about 5 times. Gradually increase repetitions.
nPress ups. Lie on stomach facing the floor, hands beside your shoulders (like starting a push-up). Do a partial push-up, keeping the pelvis on the floor. Hold, count to 5. Slowly back to start position. Repeat 5 times.
nHip hyper extension. Lie on stomach resting your forehead on your hands. Stiffen your leg and tighten your buttocks. Slowly raise your leg up from your hip. Return leg to floor. Repeat 5 times on each leg. Make sure your pelvis stays on the floor.
n Half sit-ups. Lie on your back, with knees bent. Slowly raise head and neck to top of chest. Reach both hands forward toward knees. Hold and count to 5. Slowly return to starting position. Repeat 5 times.
n Lower back rotation. Lie on back, slowly drop knees to one side while rotating your head to the other side. Hold for 5 seconds slowly raise them and lower them to the other side. Hold for 5 seconds. Do this 5 times on each side.
n Hamstring stretch. Lie on your back and slowly raise one leg as high as you comfortably can, supporting it with your hands. Stretch gently feeling a slight pull in the back of your thigh. Hold for about 5 seconds, release. Return leg to floor other leg. Repeat 5 times to start. Gradually increase reps.
n Knee to chest raise. Lie on your back, raise one knee to chest as far as you can (without pain). Hold for 5 seconds. Repeat 5 times, then switch to other leg. Do 5 reps each knee, then repeat using both knees at once.
Hopefully this will work for you after your doctor has given you the go-ahead.
Good luck!
Contact Ester Hoeben with health and fitness questions at 704-636-0111 or ehoeben@ rowanymca.com.

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