Does Pilates help with Scoliosis?

Scoliosis is a more common problem than you might think, but there is a difference between scoliosis and what is referred to as “scoliotic attitude” or “pseudo scoliosis”.

In this article, I’ll tell you more about both conditions and how Pilates can help.

Scoliosis vs. Scoliotic Attitude

According to Cleveland Clinic, scoliosis can be defined as an “abnormal curvature of the spine”. A healthy spine has a natural forward and backwards curve whereas with scoliosis, the spine rotates and develops a sideways curve. There can also be a “gibbosity”, a “hump” on the back, that becomes particularly visible when the person bends over.

In the case of a scoliotic attitude, the spine presents a postural deviation, which can be caused by :

  • A difference in length of the legs 
  • An imbalance of the pelvis 
  • A compensatory posture: for example repeated overloading of one side of the body by carrying a bag on one shoulder only

How to treat scoliosis or scoliotic attitude

Now that you know the difference between these two conditions, here are some treatment options to consider :

  • Physiotherapy 
  • Practising certain low impact sports (such as Pilates)
  • Wearing orthopaedic insoles (if there is a difference in length of the legs)
  • Treating the root cause of poor posture (here again Pilates has a role to play)

Is Pilates a solution for scoliosis or scoliotic attitude?

Pilates is a low impact sport which is generally the kind of sport you want to go for if you have a back condition such as scoliosis or scoliotic attitude.
Pilates can be an effective solution for either scoliosis or scoliotic attitude, simply because practising Pilates :

  • Strengthens the muscles around your spine
  • Corrects your posture through exercises that focus on lengthening the body 
  • Helps to correct any asymmetry in your body

How does the authentic Pilates method work ?

The Pilates method is based on a set of exercises that can be practised on the floor but also on various machines, the most famous being the “Reformer”, whose aim is to reform the body.

When you practice on Pilates machines such as the Reformer, you perform exercises that involve working against the resistance of the springs that the machine is equipped with. This type of class is highly revealing of any imbalances or asymmetries in the body. 

Your Pilates instructor will work with you to come up with a set of exercises to correct any imbalances in your body and will always adapt the class to your body type.

Pilates exercises for your back, for scoliosis and scoliotic attitude

If you suffer from a back condition, exercises that involve working the back and the arms are beneficial because they strengthen the deeper muscles around the spine.

Exercises that work the arms, whilst encouraging an upright or lying posture, are particularly recommended.

Best Pilates exercises for scoliosis

  • Pull Strap, T-shape, long stretch on the Reformer (intermediate level)
  • Rollback bar standing series (intermediate level)
  • Arm springs series on the Cadillac (beginner level)
  • Circle, shaving on the Baby Chair (beginner level)

So, to answer the question: Is Pilates compatible with scoliosis or a scoliotic attitude?

You guessed it, it’s a resounding YES!

If you want to correct your posture and any asymmetry in your body that scoliosis or a scoliotic attitude may have caused, I say look no further than Pilates! 

The Pilates method (and I mean the authentic method practised with a qualified Pilates instructor) is the best tool to correct asymmetries and strengthen your body in a balanced way.

Joseph Pilates famously said: “In 10 sessions you will feel the difference, in 20 sessions you will see the difference, and in 30 sessions you will have a brand-new body!”

Ready to help your back and try a Pilates class?

To book a discovery class with me, click here. You can also contact me for more information by clicking here.

Yours in Pilates,


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