Scoliosis Exercise:
The Side Curl for Idiopathic Scoliosis

When our vertebrae move out of alignment in any way, they are being moved by our muscles, which are controlled by our nervous system.

Many cases of idiopathic scoliosis are caused by chronically tight muscles pulling the spine out of alignment. If you have idiopathic scoliosis, you can touch your back and waist and feel how tight your muscles are.

If your nervous system is sending messages to your muscles to stay tight, no amount of passive lengthening (such as static stretching or massage) or forced re-alignment (such as bracing or chiropractic) will change these messages.

If you want to learn more about the patterns of muscular contraction that are common in idiopathic scoliosis, how our natural motor learning process leads us to develop these patterns, and how pandiculation retrains the nervous system to release chronic, involuntary muscular contraction, please read this article and watch this video.

The scoliosis exercise below allows you to release and regain control of your obliques, the muscles on the side of your waist that bend your spine to the side and hike up your hips.

When practiced daily, this scoliosis exercise will release chronic muscle tightness in the obliques, allowing your spine to gradually straighten.

Please do this scoliosis exercise extremely slowly and gently, as instructed, and do not do it if you feel pain or discomfort.


1. Watch the Video Demonstration to get a basic understanding of the movement.

2. Then, lie down on your carpet or exercise mat and play the video again. This time, close your eyes and just listen to the audio while you practice the movement.

3. Do not skip the standing awareness exercises before or after the movement. They are a critical part of the process of retraining your nervous system.

*If your curvature looks like this from behind, practice the Side Curl lying on your left side, with your right side as your working side (as shown in the video).

scoliosis exercise

*If your curvature looks like this from behind, practice the Side Curl lying on your right side, with your left side as your working side.

scoliosis exercise

*If you have an S-curve, reference the images above and work with the direction of the curve that is lower in your spine.


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