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Thread: Pilates & Scoliosis

  1. #1
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    Pilates & Scoliosis

    Hello,
    Does anyone know if Pilates is good or bad for Scoliosis?

    Thank you!!

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by cbiondillo View Post
    Hello,
    Does anyone know if Pilates is good or bad for Scoliosis?

    Thank you!!
    Pilates can be very good for scoliosis, but you need to find a practitioner that is very familiar with scoliosis. Usually former professional ballerinas are good because they have been surrounded by scoliosis during their careers and can recognize it easily, way before doctors can, and usually have lots of dancers with scoliosis they work with.

    I had one former ABT ballerina who now is an expert Pilates instructor and she has told me of cases she has worked on where the curves have been actually reduced. I obviously have no way of verifying this, and I can imagine the shrieks that will come in response, but apparently there are people who respond to Pilates. If I had the extra money and time, I would definitely be pursuing it for my daughter, but it is definitely not cheap.

  3. #3
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    Never argue with an idiot. They always drag you down to their level, and then they beat you with experience. --Twain
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Surgery 2/10/93 A/P fusion T4-L3
    Surgery 1/20/11 A/P fusion L2-sacrum w/pelvic fixation

  4. #4
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    Thank you for the links for the books about Pilates & Scoliosis.

    My daughter takes a Pilates class once a week before ballet. The instructor is a former ballet teacher. I don't know if she knows about my daughter's scoliosis though. I'm going to mention it to her at the next class. Unless you're really looking for it, it's not really that apparent.

    Thanks for the help!

  5. #5
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    Thumbs up Pilates

    I did Pilates, for about 4 years before my revision and 8 years after. I had a certified, private instructor who worked around my spine issues. It felt good and kept me in good condition but it did not keep my previously, un-instrumented, fused, spinal curves from progressing. I still needed a revision. My experienced instructor never saw a permanent, documented, progressive curve be reduced or stopped with Pilates. That being said, it did allow me to go into surgery in better condition and, thus help me to recover. Specifically, it enabled me to use certain Pilates techniques to move arond more comfortably immediately after surgery.
    She mentioned an lady of advanced age with a large curve who was flexible(the back would uncurve hanging from a bar) but she would always collapse into her large curve no matter what.
    Original scoliosis surgery 1956 T-4 to L-2 ~100 degree thoracic (triple)curves at age 14. NO hardware-lost correction.
    Anterior/posterior revision T-4 to Sacrum in 2002, age 60, by Dr. Boachie-Adjei @Hospital for Special Surgery, NY = 50% correction

  6. #6
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    I'd like to add another book to the list: "Curves, Twists and Bends" by Annette Wellings published in 2010. I found it very helpful for my own nagging low grade problems. It's insightfully written by a Pilates Instructor with Scoliosis and am doing some of the exercises with my daughter at home.
    Resilience

    treated w Milwaukee Brace FT for 3 yrs
    currently 46 with 35 LL and 40 RT curves

    8 yr old diagnosed w Scoli 8/10 with 27 LL and 27 RT
    11/10 TLSO Full Time
    4/11 22 LL and 24 RT on waiting list for VBS at Shriners Phila
    12/11 curves still in the 20s but now has some rib cage changes from the brace
    VBS 4/25/12 with Dr. Samdani. Pre Op: 29 RT and 25 LL Post Op: 17 RT and 9 LL
    10/13: 15 RT and 10 LL

  7. #7
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    Cheryl,

    If your daughter's Pilates instructor hasn't figured out that your daughter has scoliosis on her own and knows how to work with it, she may not be the right person to achieve anything other than ballet strength training.

    I should point out that the Pilates instructor that I was talking to was telling me about younger ballet dancers/students with curves between 30 and 40 degrees achieving a reduction. There's a difference between very large, mature curves and smaller, youthful, flexible curves. The purpose is not to just work around the scoliosis but to work with it.

  8. #8
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    Thumbs up helpful

    I got pilates bands and started doing the stretches and stuff on my own in addition with stretches the physical therapist recommended. They do help temporarily, but if I don't do it everyday, I'm back in the same boat. I would assume/pressume without any other info. or research that pilates would be excellent for us sufferers with the right supervision! GOOD LUCK!

  9. #9
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    Pilates and scoliosis

    Quote Originally Posted by Ballet Mom View Post
    Cheryl,

    If your daughter's Pilates instructor hasn't figured out that your daughter has scoliosis on her own and knows how to work with it, she may not be the right person to achieve anything other than ballet strength training.

    I should point out that the Pilates instructor that I was talking to was telling me about younger ballet dancers/students with curves between 30 and 40 degrees achieving a reduction. There's a difference between very large, mature curves and smaller, youthful, flexible curves. The purpose is not to just work around the scoliosis but to work with it.
    If a person already had a fusion--like me--a good instructor must work "around" it rather than "with it" because certain Pilates movements are impossible or harmful in that case. If a person has an undisclosed/undiagnosed vertebral abnormality causing the scoliosis certain movements may also be painful and therefore harmful.
    Last edited by Karen Ocker; 01-03-2011 at 06:23 PM. Reason: spelling-clarification
    Original scoliosis surgery 1956 T-4 to L-2 ~100 degree thoracic (triple)curves at age 14. NO hardware-lost correction.
    Anterior/posterior revision T-4 to Sacrum in 2002, age 60, by Dr. Boachie-Adjei @Hospital for Special Surgery, NY = 50% correction

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Karen Ocker View Post
    If a person already had a fusion--like me--a good instructor must work "around" it rather than "with it" because certain Pilates movements are impossible or harmful in that case. If a person has an undisclosed/undiagnosed vertebral abnormality causing the scoliosis certain movements may also be painful and therefore harmful.
    Moreover certain types of PT are contraindicated with certain connective tissue disorders. These disorders are relevant because some have scoliosis as a sign/symptom.

    People should always ask an experienced orthopedic surgeon if any PT is okay for a person with scoliosis before starting it, whether for a child or an adult.

    Last, Ask your orthopedic surgeon for whether there is any evidence that pilates has ever permanently reduced a structural scoliosis curve. Also ask how you can tell if a curve was not going to progress anyway even if doing no PT and how you can separate that out from the people whose curves stop progressing due to PT.

    Remember that a majority of girls with smaller AIS curves will not progress to needing surgery for progression no matter what they do or don't do. Get the facts and don't get taken by someone with no relevant training and no way to prove any curve reduction like a pilates instructor.
    Sharon, mother of identical twin girls with scoliosis

    No island of sanity.

    Question: What do you call alternative medicine that works?
    Answer: Medicine


    "We are all African."

  11. #11
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    Obviously someone with a spinal fusion or someone with a genetic syndrome should be following carefully their doctors orders and asking if something is appropriate for them to do, but I was responding to a parent of a ballet student with a 25* curve.

    For the other 98% of people with scoliosis, please look at what Dr. Orr of the Cleveland Clinic says:

    Speaker_-_Dr__Douglas_Orr: There are no exercises that will cause damage to your spine or worsen your scoliosis. Exercises to strengthen your trunk muscles (commonly called core strengthening) are the most beneficial.
    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/showt...ult-Scoliosis&

    Whether or not any permanent curve reduction is made, if someone wants to do Pilates, it should help their well-being as it will increase their core strength. That's why American ballet dancers use it (Russian technique dancers typically get their core strength through their rigorous classes alone). And believe me, there are lots of professional ballet dancers with scoliosis doing Pilates for core strengthening.

    If you wish to ask your doctors, by all means, but I think it's important that people with scoliosis don't consider themselves invalids that shouldn't do anything.

  12. #12
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    Thanks for the link. I like that doctor's way of thinking.

    My daughter's pediatric scoliosis specialist, Dr Newton, has recommended exercise daily out of brace with the goal of keeping her core strong and countering the muscle atrophy that can occur with the TLSO.

    I have been cleared by a spinal surgeon for full activity and am followed by a sports medicine physician who encourages stretching out my tight spots, core strengthening, pilates, yoga and massage.

    I did a course of PT at Spine and Sport and learned about torso rotation from them. Out of all the exercises I learned there, this just feels the best to me.

    This is just where I am coming from and just posting in case it's helpful to others.
    Resilience

    treated w Milwaukee Brace FT for 3 yrs
    currently 46 with 35 LL and 40 RT curves

    8 yr old diagnosed w Scoli 8/10 with 27 LL and 27 RT
    11/10 TLSO Full Time
    4/11 22 LL and 24 RT on waiting list for VBS at Shriners Phila
    12/11 curves still in the 20s but now has some rib cage changes from the brace
    VBS 4/25/12 with Dr. Samdani. Pre Op: 29 RT and 25 LL Post Op: 17 RT and 9 LL
    10/13: 15 RT and 10 LL

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Resilience View Post
    Thanks for the link. I like that doctor's way of thinking.

    My daughter's pediatric scoliosis specialist, Dr Newton, has recommended exercise daily out of brace with the goal of keeping her core strong and countering the muscle atrophy that can occur with the TLSO.

    I have been cleared by a spinal surgeon for full activity and am followed by a sports medicine physician who encourages stretching out my tight spots, core strengthening, pilates, yoga and massage.

    I did a course of PT at Spine and Sport and learned about torso rotation from them. Out of all the exercises I learned there, this just feels the best to me.

    This is just where I am coming from and just posting in case it's helpful to others.
    Did Spine and Sport give you a way to do the torso rotation exercises without using the large equipment or do you have to visit their facility? And was your PT at Spine and Sport covered by insurance? Thanks for any info you can give on that, I'm curious if one can do those exercises effectively using therabands, for instance.

  14. #14
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    I did the Torso Rotation exercises at their PT site with their machine, a Cybex I believe, which was the BOMB! Felt great! Locked my legs in and had a top part that I hugged and twisted.

    My gym has a torso rotation machine which is OK but not as great.

    PT at Spine and Sport was covered by my insurance, Cigna PPO.

    Since Dr. Mooney died some time ago, none of the current PTs actually knew him.
    Resilience

    treated w Milwaukee Brace FT for 3 yrs
    currently 46 with 35 LL and 40 RT curves

    8 yr old diagnosed w Scoli 8/10 with 27 LL and 27 RT
    11/10 TLSO Full Time
    4/11 22 LL and 24 RT on waiting list for VBS at Shriners Phila
    12/11 curves still in the 20s but now has some rib cage changes from the brace
    VBS 4/25/12 with Dr. Samdani. Pre Op: 29 RT and 25 LL Post Op: 17 RT and 9 LL
    10/13: 15 RT and 10 LL

  15. #15
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    Jan 2008
    Location
    NC
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    9,289
    Dr. Vert Mooney died in October, 2009.

    http://www.spineuniverse.com/author/1578/mooney
    Sharon, mother of identical twin girls with scoliosis

    No island of sanity.

    Question: What do you call alternative medicine that works?
    Answer: Medicine


    "We are all African."

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