What Are the Best Exercises for Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis?


Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS) is an abnormal sideways curvature of the spine that typically develops during adolescence. AIS affects approximately 2-3% of the adolescent population worldwide, with girls being more likely to develop the condition than boys.

One key component of managing AIS is targeted exercises that can improve posture, strengthen muscles, and potentially reduce the progression of the curvature. However, it’s important to note that the effectiveness of exercises may vary depending on the severity of the curvature and individual factors.

This blog explores the most effective exercises for adolescent idiopathic scoliosis.

What is an Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis?

Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS) is an abnormal sideways curvature of the spine that typically develops between the ages of 10 and 18. The cause of AIS is unknown, but it is believed to be related to genetic and environmental factors. This condition can vary in severity and may lead to uneven shoulders, a prominent shoulder blade, or an uneven waist.

With a focus on conservative treatments and minimally invasive surgeries, Dr. Puneet Girdhar, a well-known Robotics and MIS Spine Surgeon in India, has successfully helped numerous adolescents manage and overcome the challenges of AIS. His compassionate approach and dedication to patient care make him a trusted choice for individuals seeking effective treatment for scoliosis.

How does Exercise Help to Alleviate the Condition?

Exercise can alleviate the symptoms of adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS) by:

  • Strengthening muscles: Exercises targeting the core, back, and shoulders can strengthen muscles, providing better support for the spine and improving posture.
  • Improving flexibility: Stretching exercises can increase flexibility in the spine and surrounding muscles, reducing stiffness and discomfort.
  • Slowing curvature progression: While exercise cannot reverse the curvature, it may help slow its progression, especially when combined with other treatments like bracing.
  • Enhancing overall well-being: Regular physical activity can improve mood, energy levels, and overall health, positively impacting AIS management.

Dr. Puneet Girdhar: “Exercise plays a crucial role in managing Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis (AIS). Studies suggest that targeted exercises can improve posture and muscle strength, potentially reducing the curvature’s progression. In my experience, incorporating exercises like stretching and core strengthening can significantly benefit AIS patients. However, it’s essential to customize the exercise plan based on individual needs and severity of the condition.”

Which Exercises are Most Effective for Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis?

Here are the top exercises recommended for adolescents with idiopathic scoliosis:

  • Stretching Exercises: Stretching can help improve flexibility and range of motion in the spine and surrounding muscles. Common scoliosis stretches include the cat-cow, hamstring, and side stretch.
  • Core-Strengthening Exercises: Strengthening the core muscles can help support the spine and improve posture. Plank variations, abdominal crunches, and pelvic tilts effectively strengthen the core.
  • Pelvic Tilts: Pelvic tilts help to strengthen the lower back muscles and improve pelvic alignment. To perform pelvic tilts, lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Slowly tilt your pelvis towards your belly button, hold for a few seconds, and then release.
  • Swimming: Swimming is an excellent low-impact exercise that can help strengthen the back muscles and improve overall posture. The buoyancy of water also helps reduce the pressure on the spine.
  • Yoga: Yoga focuses on improving flexibility, strength, and balance, which can benefit individuals with scoliosis. Poses such as the cobra pose, child’s pose, and triangle pose can help stretch and strengthen the spine.
  • Resistance Band Exercises: Resistance bands can perform various strengthening exercises for the back, shoulders, and core. These exercises can help improve muscle strength and posture.
  • Pilates: Pilates is another exercise focusing on strengthening the core muscles and improving flexibility. It can help improve posture and reduce the risk of developing muscle imbalances.
  • Bracing: While not an exercise per se, bracing is a common treatment for adolescents with moderate scoliosis curvature. Wearing a brace for a prescribed number of hours each day can help slow or stop the curve’s progression during the growing years.

Rajesh Kumar, a satisfied patient of Dr. Puneet, shared, “I was diagnosed with scoliosis at 18 and was worried about its impact on my life. Thanks to Dr. Puneet’s guidance on exercise and bracing, my curvature hasn’t worsened, and I can still enjoy playing cricket with my friends.”

Sneha Patel stated, “Living with scoliosis was challenging, but Dr. Puneet’s advice on yoga and swimming made a significant difference. Thanks to his expert care, I feel more confident and comfortable in my body now.”

What is the Cost of Treating Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis in India?

The cost of treating Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis (AIS) in India varies considerably based on the severity of the ailment, the selected treatment strategy, the hospital or clinic, and the location. However, this is a preliminary estimate:


Cost Range (INR) Cost Range (USD)
Bracing 10,000 – 50,000 135 – 675
Surgery 1,50,000 – 5,00,000 2,000 – 6,750
Physiotherapy 500 – 2,000

7 – 27


Regular exercise can be crucial in managing adolescent idiopathic scoliosis. While exercises cannot cure scoliosis, they help improve posture, strengthen muscles, and potentially slow the progression of the curvature. It’s essential to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any exercise regimen to ensure it is safe and appropriate for your condition. With the right approach, exercise can be a valuable tool in managing scoliosis and improving overall quality of life.


1. Can scoliosis cause back pain?

Yes, scoliosis can cause back pain, especially as the curvature progresses or if it leads to muscle imbalances.

2. Are there any specific sports to avoid with scoliosis?

Contact sports and activities involving repetitive bending or twisting should be cautiously approached. For personalized advice, it’s best to consult a healthcare provider.

3. Is surgery always necessary for scoliosis treatment?

No, surgery is typically reserved for severe cases of scoliosis or when other treatments are ineffective. Many cases can be managed with bracing, exercises, and regular monitoring.

4. Can scoliosis worsen with age?

Scoliosis can worsen with age, especially during rapid growth, such as adolescence. Regular monitoring is essential to track progression.

5. Can scoliosis be prevented?

There is no known way to prevent scoliosis, but early detection and appropriate management can help prevent the progression of severe curvature.

Explore more blogs: What is the right age to correct scoliosis?

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