Alexander Technique and scoliosis.
Scoliosis is a condition where your spine has lateral curves that are extra to the normal spinal curves.
There are seven types of scoliosis. The most common type is called Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis (AIS). AIS affects many more adolescent girls than boys. The reason for this is not clear. Common treatments are back bracing and/or surgery.
If you have scoliosis, then Alexander Technique can help you by showing you how to reduce tension around your spine; establishing how to harness your body’s natural coordination system; teaching you to work with your body’s design; developing lightness and ease in movement.
Alexander Technique recorrects postural habits and by creating new awareness of where your body is placed in space, and response to things around you, you develop better proprioception and improved neural function. This supports structural strength with new muscle activation and improved posture for optimal function and coordination.
People with scoliosis have reported how the Alexander Technique has been a helpful way for them to develop a greater awareness, self-esteem and an overall empowered sense of their bodies.
The Scoliosis Association of the UK lists the technique as a helpful practice for people with scoliosis.
Adults with scoliosis ranging from mild to severe can at times experience back pain or discomfort. Alexander Technique can instruct you on how to let go of unnecessary tensions, stiffening and collapse that you may have patterned. These often have developed as a habit in response to wearing a back brace and may be exacerbating. Instruction on easy uprightness, natural full breathing and reduction of muscular tension can assist you to be more comfortable in your body. In some cases, exaggerated back curves will reduce with improved posture and muscle tone.
Alexander for children developing scoliosis
Where a child is found to have a mild scoliosis or a developing scoliosis, Alexander Technique lessons can show them methods for releasing up off the spinal curve, rather than compressing down onto it. Encouraging easy uprightness and good postural habits will not prevent the scoliosis but may assist the child by:
1. Reducing the amount of compensatory tension and collapse
2. Providing positive strategies for addressing the changes that are occurring
3. Increasing body comfort and self-image.
Alexander Technique and bracing
Sometimes, young people have their scoliosis treated with a brace that they wear under their clothes for a prescribed amount of time each day.
Alexander instruction does not conflict with the medical treatment of wearing the brace. It does help the person to overcome some of the side effects of wearing a back brace over an extended period.
The brace holds the torso tightly and is designed to prevent the back curve from worsening.
The young person may develop over-tension in neck, shoulders and legs as a compensation for wearing the brace. The back muscles may weaken and lose tone. Breathing may be constrained because of squeezing around the rib cage and torso.
Alexander Technique can assist the young person, who is using a back brace, to prevent harmful breathing habits from developing and to maintain back muscle tone. Alexander awareness can assist the brace wearer to minimise the postural impact of the treatment and to maintain easy uprightness when the brace is not being worn.
Have a look at a series of short videos from a scoliosis sufferer Galen Cranz. click here
Alexander Technique lessons can be an important way that people who suffer from AIS or other forms of scoliosis can manage their condition.
The Alexander Technique and scoliosis for children,adolescents and teenagers
Lindsay Newitter blogs about her experience of scoliosis and use of Alexander Technique to assist
Alexander Technique for scoliosis-hope for sufferers, especially parents of children with the condition
Scoliosis and pain reduction using Alexander Technique