Top 5 Scoliosis Exercises

The following exercises are the most recommended for people with scoliosis. Exercise is important for any person’s overall good health. However, for people with moderate or severe scoliosis, we recommend a San Francisco Chiropractor’s assessment first.

1. Step down and one-arm reach

  • Once you know which of your legs appears longer in the lying down position,  step onto a small box or step with that leg.
  • Lower the other leg down to the floor as you bend into the knee.
  • As you start moving down, raise the arm on the same side as the lowered leg up as high to the sky. For instance, if the right foot is lowering to the floor, raise the right arm.
  • Perform 3 sets of 12 reps on this side only. DO NOT perform the exercise on the other side.

scoliosis leg lowering exercise

2. Upward and downward dog

  • In a down-facing plank position with your arms stretched out straight, push your hips back and up as far as possible.
  • Hold this for 3 seconds, and then lower your hips back down toward the ground.
  • Try to get as low as possible without giving yourself lower back discomfort or pain.
  • Perform 3 sets of 12 reps.

scoliosis upward downward dog

3. Split stance with arm reach

  • Lunge forward with the longer leg in front in a slightly exaggerated stride length.
  • Keep your torso as upright as possible at all times.
  • Start shifting your weight back and forth, allowing the forward knee to bend as you observe the weight shift onto it.
  • As you shift your weight forward, raise the arm that is opposite of your forward leg high to the sky.
  • While that arm is reaching upward, reach the other arm back with the palm up as much as you can. This will cause the torso and spine to turn toward the side of the forward leg.
  • Perform this exercise ONLY on that side. Perform 3 sets of 12 reps.

scoliosis split stance

4. Bird Dog (4-Point Kneeling)

The muscle called the erector spinae extend the entire length of the spine. It is on both sides and assists in maintaining correct posture and rotation. You will strengthen and improve the endurance of these muscles by positioning yourself on hands and knees.

  • Carefully reach one leg back, keeping a tabletop position.
  • Hold this position for 3 seconds then switch to the opposite side.
  • Do it over until you are unable to maintain stability.

The purpose of this exercise is to maintain a neutral spine and pelvis. Try to maintain your tailbone as far from your head. To make the exercise tougher, reach your opposite hand forward or add some instability such as a stability ball.

scoliosis bird dog exercise

5.  Row

The muscle called the latissimus dorsi covers the whole back. A row will exercise these muscles and create support for the trunk. There are many different ways to do a row. You can use either a machine or free weights. It is important to choose the method that is challenging and comfortable for you. Sit on a stability ball facing a pulley machine and complete a row. Do this exercise one side at a time. This will challenge your core and make the exercise more difficult.

To get to the root cause of pain and discomfort, schedule an initial consultation, including a comprehensive evaluation and first treatment.


scoliosis stability ball row