Pilates and Scoliosis

I have scoliosis and I am a Pilates Teacher. Since I was a child I had to go to the doctor to have my spinal curve checked up until I turned 18. My mother has scoliosis and she has the Harrington Rod in her body. 

Since scoliosis can tend to be hereditary and more prominent in females, I learned about it at a very young age. But I didn’t know much about it or understand it until now, when I’m 32. I was in dance at the start of first grade up until my college years. My mom thought dance would help with my posture and the curvature of my spine. At first I thought it did help me, until I started doing Pilates in 2013, 6 years ago.

I did the classical ballet classes along with tap and jazz and some modern dance. So I was always told to suck in my stomach and tuck my butt. Growing up I was complimented on my posture which I now find ironic. It seems the dance posture only made my ribs more forward than they should be and scoliosis has the habit of already bringing them forward.

After graduating from college I began to run for exercise. I really enjoyed it and began increasing my mileage from 5K to 10K to half marathon and finally training for a full marathon but not completing it. During on 10K I discovered my left knee was bothering me for 90% of the run and I went to see a specialist after the race. He diagnosed the problem as IT band syndrome and I went in search of more core related exercises to help improve my running. That’s when I discovered Pilates.

Pilates has taught me a lot of things especially when going through my training program. I had a lot of bad habits with my posture and needed to relearn good movement patterns. I’ve also learned how much my body wants to tilt my pelvis forward increasing my lumbar curve, how difficult twisting can be, how my body wants to be in a backbend without me knowing it, and how to breathe more deeply to improve the flexibility of my ribcage.

None of these movements are easy but Pilates makes the movement better without strain or tension or force. I can’t cure my scoliosis and I can’t decrease the curve of my spine, but I can learn to move well even with the scoliosis.

Here you can see how much the scoliosis takes my body in two different directions, legs to the right and arms to the left.
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