In this installment of Ask the Doctor, Dr. Perkash addresses a condition that affects approximately seven million people in the United States: scoliosis.
I am thinking about taking a TRX class and was wondering about using it if you have scoliosis. I'm an avid cyclist and take Pilates and yoga on a regular basis. Is there anything that might injure my back due to my condition?
Scoliosis, or curvature of the spine, is generally divided into four categories: congenital, neuromuscular, idiopathic and degenerative. Congenital scoliosis means you are born with a curvature of the spine. Neuromuscular scoliosis generally results from diseases of the nerves or muscles, such as muscular dystrophy. The idiopathic scoliosis means that we do not know what causes it, but it usually appears during adolescence, and this is the most common cause. In the elderly, scoliosis can also result from asymmetric degeneration of the discs and spinal elements.
In the vast majority of cases, the curvature is mild and can be managed non-operatively. In rare cases, the curvature requires surgical intervention with placement of spinal hardware to “straighten out” the spine to prevent worsening of the condition. Bracing is also considered in cases of idiopathic adolescent scoliosis when the curvature worsens before full growth has been achieved.
In general, rehabilitation physicians recommend strengthening of the musculature surrounding the spinal curvature to strengthen and support the spine. This recommendation is for patients with or without scoliosis, but in those with scoliosis, this can be even more important to try to compensate for abnormal muscle imbalances that have resulted from the scoliosis.
The TRX Suspension Trainer is a fitness tool that can help with core musculature strengthening in virtually every exercise that is performed using it. Since the TRX uses the principle of balance in every exercise it employs, different parts of the core musculature surrounding the spine are activated to maintain this balance. It is an excellent tool for anyone who is interested in spinal musculature health and strengthening.
Unless there are specific features of scoliosis that may limit an individual’s ability to participate in exercises, most patients who do not require surgery do not have any specific limitations with regard to their exercise program. You should check with your spine physician if you have any specific limitations with which you need to be concerned.
If you are already actively involved in Pilates, yoga and bicycling and have not been given any specific restrictions by your physician, you are an ideal candidate to explore TRX Suspension Training to its fullest potential.
For more on how TRX Suspension Training bodyweight exercise is a safe, scalable and effective solution for you or your patients, visit our Sports Medicine page.
NOTE: Any medical information in this blog is of a general nature and not a substitute for the advice of a medical professional. If you need medical advice, see a doctor.