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mamandcrm
05-29-2009, 05:26 PM
Does anyone have any suggestions for how to combat muscle atrophy for full-time brace-wearers? My daughter is very young but it is a concern for me. I was talking to an old friend last night and told her about the scoliosis, and as we talked more about my worries, she suggested that there might be exercises that could be done with the brace that could help. She freely admits to be no expert, just very into exercise for a long time and trying to help a friend, but suggested hanging with knee pull-ups. NOOO, I am not going Schroth here (no opinion on that expressed), just core musle exercise with the brace on.

Any thoughts?

LindaRacine
05-29-2009, 10:46 PM
Hi...

There's no research on what works, but it makes sense to me that core strengthening would be one's best bet.

Regards,
Linda

mamandcrm
06-01-2009, 05:02 PM
Thanks for your response, Linda. Re-reading my post, I feel I should clarify. I have nothing against Schroth therapy. I don't know anything about it, other than it involves hanging exercises. I just didn't want to prompt any anti-Schroth responses which would distract from my actual question of just simple exercises my child can do with her brace on if anyone had ideas. But I realize it may have come off as disparaging. I hate to make her do programmed exercises during the one hour a day she has out of her brace, although I encourage her to play and do regular kid running around stuff, which of course is exercise.

And she tried knee pull-ups with her brace on (hanging from a bar with her Dad supervising), and I guess it went just fine, so that is what we will do for now.:)

Ballet Mom
06-01-2009, 05:18 PM
The orthotist at my daughter's last brace appointment was pleased to hear that my daughter was in ballet. He said that ballet and swimming were the best things for scoliosis patients to be involved in, their entire lives, as it strengthens the core muscles. He also mentioned that only dancers have those very flexible backs, which helps with scoliosis even if it reaches a surgical level. I have heard these two activities mentioned elsewhere also, in case you're interested in doing something for her other than just exercises at home. Seven years old is a great age to start ballet! :)

mamandcrm
06-01-2009, 05:32 PM
Ballet Mom,

Unfortunately, she hates ballet (sorry)! Tried it for about a year, and just was not her thing. It's probably just as well as she is an avid horseback rider and she does that 3-4 days week, mostly with the brace on. She does love swimming so we will try to take our brace breaks at the pool this summer. It's hard to juggle though because she does horseshows as well that require her to be out of brace for several hours, and then we try to be extra good about the brace-wear after that. Ahh, I know I can analyze this till I drop and will get nowhere. I'm just lucky I have a kid that is engaged with the bracing process and willing to cooperate. I think I need to give her some latitude this summer to be a kid. And she probably will start doing some horseshows in brace, which will take some of the pressure off.

Pooka1
06-01-2009, 05:41 PM
Ballet Mom,

Unfortunately, she hates ballet (sorry)! Tried it for about a year, and just was not her thing. It's probably just as well as she is an avid horseback rider and she does that 3-4 days week, mostly with the brace on.

That will be good. Riding is all core, all the time. You ride a horse from you core. I don't know anything that requires more core than riding other than gymnastics.

ETA: You also need a flexible back for riding but one that is "toned" enough and not totally relaxed. That is one of the most commonly-encountered difficulties in learning to ride... EXACTLY balancing toned with relaxation. The horse reacts to every quarter ounce that is not in balance or relaxed enough so as not to block and right over the midline with a neutral spine. It's annoying. :mad::)

Ballet Mom
06-01-2009, 05:42 PM
No problem about the ballet...it does seem to take a different type of personality to really enjoy it! I know I didn't like it as a kid and dropped it almost immediately, I think after the first split stretches....:D. It's probably a good thing she doesn't get involved with ballet if she's that interested in riding, as the older she gets in ballet, the more and more time intensive it becomes...hard to juggle that with another interest. The pool sounds great!

Pooka1
06-01-2009, 05:45 PM
And she probably will start doing some horseshows in brace, which will take some of the pressure off.

You might want to make sure she doesn't get DQed for this. I would imagine it would be an advantage in equitation classes.

mamandcrm
06-01-2009, 05:52 PM
Thanks for the input, all.

Pooka, that was my sense as well. I gave up riding a long time ago but watching her with her trainer, I am reminded on the emphasis on controlled posture and balance. And she loves it, the competition especially, which is great. When she has a short lesson, we take the brace off so she can get some real core exercise. I'm just not sure if her show jacket will fit over the brace! (easily fixed:))

Ballet Mom, I laughed when I read your comment about why you quit. She hated the stretching/splits stuff! I'm afraid she has inherited her mom's questionable flexibility. I could NEVER get close to doing the splits.

Pooka1
06-01-2009, 06:00 PM
Thanks for the input, all.

Pooka, that was my sense as well. I gave up riding a long time ago but watching her with her trainer, I am reminded on the emphasis on controlled posture and balance. And she loves it, the competition especially, which is great. When she has a short lesson, we take the brace off so she can get some real core exercise. I'm just not sure if her show jacket will fit over the brace! (easily fixed:))

That's really great. I think riding might be one of the few sports where you probably can and do work your core and back muscles in an isometric fashion in order to balance and carry yourself. I know when I'm working towards collection (using your core to rebalance a horse's weight onto the haunches), I feel like I've done 500 sit-ups after my ride. :eek: Yet you wouldn't see much movement at all.

What type of riding does your daughter do may I ask? Balance seat disciplines like dressage and reining would be the ones that work the core the most I suspect.

mamandcrm
06-01-2009, 06:40 PM
She rides hunter, so does work both under saddle and over fences. Her trainer makes her kids do a lot of no stirrup work, and balance work (riding holding a cup of water, etc.) which I think must be great for core, as well as legs. It's a real joy to me that she has found something she loves.

mamandcrm
06-01-2009, 06:44 PM
Pooka,

Re DQ'd, she mostly rides in local shows, and her trainer thinks it would be fine, it's pretty low-key. Might be a problem in rated shows, which she will start doing later this summer.

Pooka1
06-01-2009, 06:46 PM
She rides hunter, so does work both under saddle and over fences. Her trainer makes her kids do a lot of no stirrup work, and balance work (riding holding a cup of water, etc.) which I think must be great for core, as well as legs. It's a real joy to me that she has found something she loves.

Those are good points.

Pooka1
06-01-2009, 06:49 PM
Pooka,

Re DQ'd, she mostly rides in local shows, and her trainer thinks it would be fine, it's pretty low-key. Might be a problem in rated shows, which she will start doing later this summer.

Yeah I would want to find out ahead of time for the rated shows. I have no idea if a brace is illegal in hunter under saddle or hunter over fences. It seems like it would be quite an advantage in eq. classes though.

Good luck to her!

mamandcrm
06-01-2009, 06:52 PM
Strangely enough, she always looks worse when she wears her brace riding. She tends to lean forward too much. Maybe it's the length of the brace in the back that makes her want to tip. We just got it shortened (for other reasons) so maybe that will go away...

Pooka1
06-01-2009, 06:56 PM
Strangely enough, she always looks worse when she wears her brace riding. She tends to lean forward too much. Maybe it's the length of the brace in the back that makes her want to tip. We just got it shortened (for other reasons) so maybe that will go away...

That's pretty interesting. Hopefully shortening the brace will let her sit up.