During the schooling years when all that mattered was looking cool and doing the minimalist I recall teachers continuously chanting ;“ do not carry your heavy bag on one shoulder , place your backpack on both shoulders, turn your chair around to face her don’t sit rotated in that manner, don’t lean to one side like that- stand up straight” and the list goes on, all these phases meant nothing to me at the time , until I discovered SCOLIOSIS and other back related conditions.

Scoliosis is on the rise, approximately 3 million new cases of scoliosis are diagnosed each year, with scoliosis becoming so prevalent in both children and adults the global scoliosis treatment market has been finding different ways in which to treat scoliosis and help manage the pain. Pilates has been listed as one of the conservative treatments proven to be very effective when it comes to managing pain associated with scoliosis and strengthening the back region.

But what is scoliosis?

Scoliosis is the sideways curvature of the spine. The Greek word Skoliosis means “crookedeness” from the root word skolios, “bent or crooked”. Leading to the word scoliosis which is the abnormal sideways curvature of the spine into a C or S shape. Scoliosis results to great amount of imbalance within the skeletal system causing pain, discomfort, and tension in the back.

What are the types of scoliosis?

There are several types of scoliosis varying from congenital to neuromuscular.  All kinds of scoliosis involve some degree of spinal bending, some are worse than others. Idiopathic is the most common type of scoliosis. This means that the cause is unknown or that there is no single factor that contributes to the development of the disease.

What are the Causes of scoliosis?

  • Certain neuromuscular conditions, such as cerebral palsy or muscular dystrophy.
  • Birth defects affecting the development of the bones of the spine.
  • Previous surgery on the chest wall as a baby.
  • Injuries to or infections of the spine.
  • Spinal cord abnormalities

Does Pilates training benefit scoliosis?

  • Pilates may assist in stopping the process of bending within the spine. Pilates has been found to improve the Cobb angle in the spine.
  • Pilates has been reported to change the trunk flexibility through back bone segmentation movement and improve lateral bending of the spinal column.
  • Improve posture with its focus on alignment and rotational movements which increases core stability.
  • Strengthening the core which will provide additional support for the back.
  • Improve the flexibility which will reduce tension, discomfort, muscle pain and stress.

Which Pilates exercises are good for scoliosis?

  • Practicing good posture

Posture is one of the major factors in Pilates. An individual is not only instructed to stand correctly but is also made aware of the posture during movement resulting to an increased consciousness of one’s own posture. Good posture can reduce pain and muscle tension. Several times a day, a person can realign their body to help them learn to stand with good posture naturally.

  • Pelvic tilts

Pelvic tilts will help stretch tight muscles in the hips and lower back. It also teaches individuals how to work in their neural pelvis.

  • Pelvic curl

Assists in releasing any back tension as well as increase mobility at the spine due to segmented movements.

  • Cat camel stretch

It can help keep the spine flexible and pain-free.

  • Quadruped/bird bog

Strengthens the back and develops pelvic lumbar stability.

  • Toe taps

Having strong abdominal muscles can help take some of the pressure off the back muscle. It can also help a person maintain good posture.

  • Swimmer

Strengthen the lower back with arm and leg raises.


With continuous practice of Pilates, one will start to see a difference in their posture, reduction in bodily tension, and increased flexibility.

It is only after my discovery Pilates, that I realized how important it is to stand, walk, sit correctly during our everyday lives to avoid exacerbating any spinal conditions such as scoliosis.

Pilates Dynamics only employ well-trained and qualified teachers.  To book classes at Pilates Dynamics, contact 011-792 5459 or 072 999 2229 or email info@pilatesdynamics.co.za