Practicing yoga poses regularly could lead to reduced curvature of the spine in scoliosis patients, a new study has found.
For patients with scoliosis, a condition in which there is a curvature of the spine, holding a single yoga pose for 1 to 2 minutes each day for several days a week could aid in the reduction of curvature, according research published in Global Advances in Health and Medicine.
Yoga is often recommended to scoliosis patients by their physicians. Treatment for scoliosis can involve wearing a back brace, spinal fusion surgery, and daily routine exercise for less serious cases. Scoliosis affects 2 to 3 percent of the population in the U.S. and can develop in infancy or early childhood.
Researchers from the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University assessed 25 patients with forms of scoliosis, teaching them a yoga pose called the ‘side plank.’ The patients were taught to hold the pose for 10 to 20 seconds every day for a week, after a week they were asked to hold the pose for as long as possible but only on the convex, or weaker, side of their spine.
Spinal radiographs of the patients taken both the start of the study as well as from 3 to 22 months after the start of the yoga regimen were compared by radiologists and orthopedic surgeons.
The results showed that on average, patients had a 32% reduction in their primary curve and that patients who were most diligent, completing the exercise at least four times a week, were the ones that experienced the most benefit.
Scoliosis is a sideways curvature of the spine that occurs most often during the growth spurt just before puberty. While scoliosis can be caused by conditions such as cerebral palsy and muscular dystrophy, the cause of most scoliosis is unknown.