Several weeks ago, we posted a letter to the editor written by Dr. Keith Mankin of Raleigh Orthopaedic Clinic about scoliosis and back braces. Scoliosis was back in the news yesterday with an article about how yoga could possibly help the disorder. Dr. Mankin provided the following comments on the article.
As a specialist in pediatric spinal disorders, I am very pleased with the recent interest in articles about scoliosis. This latest report points out the importance of a proper exercise and physical program when you have the diagnosis of a spinal abnormality. Kim Wagaman is to be congratulated on her efforts.
However, I would point out that while physical modalities such as yoga or exercise can help with the muscle balance and with the aches, pains and stiffness associated with scoliosis, there is no evidence they they can improve a curve or even stop its progression. If your doctor has prescribed a brace, it is very important to discuss alternative treatments to make sure that they are appropriate for your condition.
Also, since some yoga positions can put a great deal of stress on your back and legs, it is extremely important to choose a yoga instructor with experience with folks with scolisis. Any exercise program should be carefully tailored to your alignment and your spinal condition.
An instructor such as Ms. Wagaman would be ideal. Hopefully, professionals in the Raleigh area with this level of expertise will make themselves available.