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6 In fitness

scoliosis and exercise | what works for me


Back in summer 2012, I convinced myself that I had one leg longer than the other.  I’d recently started the Couch to 5K program, and I often had soreness on the left side of my lower back.  I visited my GP who referred me for X-rays at the hospital, which showed an 11 degree ‘S’ curve in my spine.  ‘Mild Idiopathic Adolescent Scoliosis’, which sounds very daunting!  However it’s extremely common apparently – affecting roughly every 1 in 100 people – and I know of 2 other girls in my year at school with it too.  11 degrees is very mild, and I’m lucky that it’s not worse and requiring surgery like others I know.

You’d probably never tell from photographs and it’s pretty much unnoticeable when I’m wearing normal clothes, but I can spot the bendiness when at my dance class or wearing a cropped top.  Without the slight curve I’d be even taller!  However like I said, I experienced numb pains in my lower back for a while, and this was my main motivator for seeking advice about strengthening my core.

As I mentioned in this post, I started with Pilates videos by everyone’s favourite Cassey Ho.  A few months of these videos and I saw and felt a real difference.  My back definitely felt stronger and running was much easier, but my mum encouraged me to seek the guidance of a personal trainer.  Josh was already working with Dan, who had seen great results fitness-wise, and this made him an obvious choice to ask for advice!  I was just in time to get a couple of sessions in with Josh before he moved to London in September.  He was able to assess exactly where my weak points are, and give me exercises to improve on these.

Josh was back in the north for Christmas, so I had the opportunity to check in with him again.  The grotty weather almost killed off any chance of us shooting the session, but we just managed to escape the rain yesterday!

Josh kindly agreed to provide a few words on the subject here!  Thanks Josh for yesterday; I can highly recommend you to any London readers who would like a few pointers, or indeed a full time personal trainer!

“Lily had asked me to advise her on corrective exercises for scoliosis. Being that scoliosis is an S like curvature of the spine, it is normally caused by genetics, or inherited factors in some cases.  So within the training session with Lily we discussed not necessarily ways to ‘correct’ it, but ways to keep her back healthy and reinforce good posture.

We first began by doing a brief warm up and went straight into plank variations, including push up planks , one arm push up planks and one leg push up planks. These are brilliant for core stability which prevents lower back pain / tightness and keeps your pelvis in alignment, to enforce an upright posture and prevent over arching of the lumbar spine (lower back).




Finally, after the core stability training we focused on mobility. This essentially means to focus on ways to improve movement of an individual, to in turn make them more mobile for their sport or exercise discipline. Lily performed a basic hip flexor stretch and an advanced hip flexor stretch to again keep her pelvis in alignment / prevent over arching of her lower back. We then rounded off the session with was a lower back stretch to relieve tightness, and then progressively having Lily move her hands closer towards her as the stretch got easier. This allowed for a deeper stretch.”





So better posture is the most obvious change I’ve noticed, as when I was younger I definitely had a typical ‘tall girl slouch’.




Leggings: USA Pro
Trainers: Nike Free 3.0
Top: H&M

Of course you should always consult your GP about individual conditions, this is just what has worked well for me!

Thanks for reading!

lily kate x

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  • Reply
    5th January 2014 at 10:47 pm

    Def def can’t tell there is anything wrong with you! It’s great that you could check in with him again.

    Corinne x

  • Reply
    7th January 2014 at 4:28 am

    Pilates is seriously my favourite thing to do. I never really got my back checked by my GP or any specialist, but I know I grew up not paying any attention to my posture and now it really has gotten to me.

    I know Pilates isn’t the cure to proper posture, but I really think it’s helping me in some sort.

    Keep it up!

    Susan | Susan Loves…

  • Reply
    9th January 2014 at 8:50 pm

    Pilates (specifically Cassey Ho) has helped me tremendously. I have a connective tissue order which causes my ligaments to be very lax – I used to pop my shoulders back in every morning, but I just thought it was normal. One morning it wouldn’t go back. Turns out this wasn’t normal. Haha. I’m fortunate that it didn’t dislocate or sublux, but it looked dislocated. My hips “pop out”, my fingers bend the wrong way. I’m fortunate it’s not worse, or that I don’t have the vascular type, but I have to make sure my muscles are strong because they pick up all the slack. They do twice the work.

    When I started doing pilates.. pow! Immediate difference. It took months, but my shoulders went back into place, my joints hurt way less, I feel better in general. Now I’m pregnant and exercising is sort of.. uncomfortable sometimes and no one is as fun as Cassey Ho, but I’m doing my best when I’m able! My midwives have said my abdominal muscles are “great” and “good for you!” Haha.

    • Reply
      12th January 2014 at 10:47 pm

      Ooo that sounds painful! My hips, shoulders, back and ankles all crack, which is maybe a problem haha! I bet excercising when pregnant is quite the challenge – well done you!

  • Reply
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