Scoliosis, by definition is the abnormal lateral curvation of the spine. Juvenile and adolescent scoliosis is quite frequent among the young people who are brought to me by their parents for “just taking a look at it, what could be done“-occasions.
In most cases there is a neuromuscular deviance. Since during the last 10-20 years young people started to cease the natural moving of themselves and P.E. lessons in schools are either not enough or have a really poor programme,if any (at least in Hungary) , fitness funnyguys usually do not offer any kind of screening or solution, orthopedic consultation ends up with drastic ideas or boring,endless therapeutic months, the situation is getting a little worse as time passes by.
This writing is a sort of short summary of what I could do with juvenile scoliotic young boys and girls using FMS for screening, later corrective exercises, and some exercises and basic principles of the RKC system of wisdom. In other words: how I could find a way to help to find one’s axis agreeable to the CNS and “persuade” muscles to behave themselves 🙂
During the last 3 years I have had altogether 11 young persons who needed to be made straight and I have just started to work with one more beautiful girl.
The basic idea was to regard this kind of “bending” as a little misunderstanding on the part of the CNS, and a loss of rythm: the girls and boys are growing so quickly -muscles cannot follow development with the same speed. We know a newborn baby generally grows 3 times bigger in weight during the first year in the world. Nowadays especially adolescents grow -well, not 3 times- but unimaginably much in height in a very short time. The spine is not stable because of the small amount of responsible muscles and weak ligaments,so it bows to one side- and the other side. I
If we start to think about this phenomena as a kind of not willingly applied chain of assymetries of the body, we have arrived to the very first step, FMS . FMS usually shows low point rates and at least 2 serious assymetries: shoulder mobility and active straight leg raise. There are cases when the deep squat and in-line lunge cannot even be performed. There are cases when there is a constant, not very intensive, but never ceasing feeling of back pain and a series of triggerpoints help the back keeping the form of letter S.
First I always target the hips and the fascia lata, accompanied by a big amount of feet statics normalising exercises, always checking tibialis anterior. Then we start to breathe, learn the armbar and BrettZel AND practice. Then we roll. (usually first time rotary stability pattern is also many times impossible to perform, on one side for sure) With an open, functioning chest we step into the realm of RKC: the big task is to perform the first step of TGU. The final goal is the excercise itself, but until the first step is not perfectly performed, it makes no sense to step on.
Never make anyone bored. The line between serious-enough and entertaining-enough-to-make-the-client-enthusiastic is very smooth, very diffucult to stay with it, yet not impossible. Young people like to laugh, they start to like TGU when I ask them to perform it with a teafilterbag on their fist, or a piece of spagetti or Roletti, a DVD disc or a -first small,(later bigger and more filled) box of juice or plastic bottle of water.They do not even notice how, minute by minute, they are fixing their axis, letting their chest open in a good mood, not directly targeting a really bad stress factor of their lives. Gradually everybody I have been dealing with could learn to perform a technically safe and beautiful TGU.
When reaching this point we are happy 🙂 Because by this time side effects like the vanishing of back pain and the strange feeling among the costa disappear and the first sign of muscle presence can be noticed on the back. The process might last for 3-4 months, depending on the amount of home practice, and I am always very careful not to overload or hurry.
FMS again, with much-much smaller assymetries if any.
When a certain state of body knowledge is reached, we start to use the Plank:
-on elbows, for 10 secs, the aim is always perfect performance and not length of time. This is the point when I thank all Gods that Mark Reifkind is a genious and what more, he has released his DVD on the Lats. The Plank is a great exercise to wake the lats up and make them work.
– plank series, all for 10 secs: on two elbows/ right, then left leg lifted/right, then left hand lifted, paying special attention to the abdominals.lats and the keeping or the form of the exercise AND breathing /one leg AND the other leg lifted and vice versa.
I have found the Plank, when performed properly a quite healing exercise !
Soon we can turn to deadlifts, suitcase deadlifts which I love to complicate with assymetrical weights. Working with two kettlebells of different size is a very good training and adaptive fun for the client. Series of 5 lifts first, then we grow into 10, and complicate then.
These are the exercises I use mainly for scoliotic adolescents. Soemhow everyone must get physically OK to start to swing 🙂
The results? Fasten your safety belts: very good. Backpain dissappears, muscles appear in the right places with good function. Backs strengthen, hips balanced out, gait is better. The “worst” young girl I have worked with went back to control to his orthopedist after 5 months having spent with our exercises, they have made Xray, MRI, re-measured angles and she, while growing 3 centimiters, have improved 4 degrees on one side and 3 on her “better” side. This is very rare. And…..I have not done anything just applied what I have learned listening to her and my intuition very carefully.
This is not a recipe. When having a client with spine troubles, ask a lot and be careful. This is just an example how things can be fixed with appropriate information and practice…..and an enthusiastic RKC.