Exercise with Brace
What are some of the facts about exercising with scoliosis brace?
If you are wearing a hard brace:
- Due to the weight and movement restriction, you will have to change the way you do sports or exercises. For example, if you used to run, you probably will have to run for a shorter distance or run at a slower speed;
- Exercises that require many trunk movements will likely to be difficult;
- You may tired out sooner too because of the pressure on the rib cage which affects chest expansion during breathing;
- You may need to exercise at a cooler time of the day as it will be hotter to exercise with the brace;
- You need to be careful with the skin condition at which the pressure is applied to control the curve; this too may affect how much and the kind of exercise you can participate in.
So…most likely, if you need to exercise like before, you need to keep the brace off.
If you are wearing soft brace:
There will be minimum movement restriction. It is less hot and less likely to cause skin problems. All kinds of land exercises (such as cycling, badminton, and dance) are encouraged as exercising with the brace on speeds up the curve correction. Soft brace also allows much better muscle retaining and joint mobilization, which has a great impact on curve correction retention after the brace treatment is over.
How do I know what exercises are good?
- Exercises that are designed to work specifically on muscle imbalance, posture faults are more beneficial than general exercises like swimming, jogging, generic yoga & back stretching exercise; the reason is that general exercises usually fail to stress the “imbalance” in scoliosis, either for strength or flexibility;
- Swimming is good to unload the spine and improve the breathing function; it may also help to reduce back pain that results from excessive loading or tension;
- Correct breathing techniques are important as rib cage deformity is common in scoliosis;
- In order to specifically work on the muscles affected, the curve of the scoliosis needs to be assessed, the posture changes need to be analyzed in details;
- After the study of the curve type and the posture changes, specific movement can be taught and implemented to work on the faulty muscle and posture development;
- The exercised then can be progressed with resistance or more repetitions;
- Do not perform general weight training for scoliosis, as those usually only works on the muscles that are being used all the time and are already strong, and the weak ones will still remain un-used and weak!