T Nation

Slight Scoliosis and Weight Lifting

Hi
I was born with a slight scoliosis(which ever since I did my first pulldown-yes, PULLDOWN, a billion years ago when I considered chins useless-, deadlift, squat.
Now, after doing deads the pain seemed to dimnish (note that when lifting I feel NO pain, I feel it only during some spine flexion/extension movements…as I have seen it seems that in place of an “2D” flexion/extension-straight to front- I usually -meaning when I don’t flex every little bit o muscle to stabilize my spine- I do this in “3D” - front + rotation).

The scoliosis tough can be pretty hard to notice(meaning slight)… and I can stand up perfectly straight if I try.

Is weight lifting (well more like deads, standing overhead presses, squats and side bends) dangerous for me? Can it aggravate my existing condition? If so, always or only if my technique is lacking? Is there any way to correct this? (exercises, etc.)

Many thanks,
Black Thorn

P.S.:please DON’T tell me to visit a doctor. The doctors I have access to are total ignorants, and they haven’t the least of an idea about sports.

Not all doctors are “total ignorants” when it comes to weight-training.

Though no one can positively say that lifting won’t make your condition worse, I feel that if it really is slight, it probably wouldn’t.

I actually have a slight lateral deviation of my spine - enough to notice when I do a rear double biceps pose. Lifting only makes my pain worse if I fail to stretch enough on a regular basis.

Strength training plus stretching equals strong, healthy muscles. But training without adequate stretching (esp of your hips, hams, erectors, and QL) could feasibly make your condition worse.

(this information is for educational purposes only and is not meant to be a prescription or replace your dr’s advice, even if he/she is an ignorant)

Clay Hyght, DC, CSCS

[quote]Dr Clay wrote:
Not all doctors are “total ignorants” when it comes to weight-training.

Clay Hyght, DC, CSCS
[/quote]

The doctor is right. You just haven’t found the right one. :slight_smile:

My son is 5 and has a left tilt to his neck and has slight curvature of the spine. I understand that genetics can play a part in scoliosis. I have a brother w/ it, though I don’t know about either of my parents. We see the chiropractor 3 times a week and it helps.

Anyway, find a decent doc to ask about it. Try a chiropractor. Also look into doctors of sports medicine.

I don’t think there would be any prob w/ you continuing to train. Just don’t do so much that you hurt yourself.

Black Thorn,

I have scoliosis in two places in my spine - upper back (just above shoulder blades) and lower back. While my shoulders are level, one hip is slightly higher then the other. Beat you! :wink:

Okay, seriously, I do everything in the gym (squats, deads, good mornings, etc.). I also make sure that I go to a chiropractor regularly. You have to make sure you go to a good chiro.

The scoliosis causes me little pain - none when lifting. I just notice that my back muscles where I have the scoliosis will get tight if I haven’t been adjusted in a while. (My range of motion diminishes, too.) This usually means that I can’t lift as much on the back exercises 'cause my muscles are so tense and stiff.

I’ve always been told to swim - keeps or improves the ROM and creates endurance in the back. Also been told to do wieghts to build strength in the back.

Many thanks.
Allow me to explain: all the doctors I HAVE ACCESS TO (here, in Romania) ARE ignorants. They told me to never lift again (and it seems that lifitng did help- I usually woke with a real nice back pain, felt when rolling in bed when I woke up… a few deads and… poof…back pain gone)
I simply don’t trust someone who asks me why do I want muscle, need muscle, tell me I have enough (5’10", 145lbs, 13"arms,43"chest,20"legs), or that swimming and ENDURANCE RUNNING build muscle.

Thanks, Black Thorn

Hi BT -

Is there a university nearby? Do they have an exercise physiology program? If so, someone there might be able to give you advice.

I spent a couple of years in physical therapy as a teenager since I have scoliosis and kyphosis. I did a lot of pulling exercises with bands there, which would likely equate to pulldowns with 50 lbs. It defintely helped.

If I go more than a month without lifting now, my shoulders begin to slump noticeably forward (I get comments). Chinups and deadlifts are integral to any program I do for that reason.

So yes, I think you should be lifting. Just realise that you need a good foundation before jumping to 200 or 300 lb deads. You need the muscle to handle most of the load, not the spine.

Thanks highersights.
I’ll keep lifting. Right now I use a weight I can lift for more than 10 reps, 175lbs, and I’ll do this (under 200lbs)for one or two more months as to make sure my body gets used to it and also gain some mass(dunno if it’s stupid, but then again I just started dealifting seriously, after doing this one session yes a billion no because I wasn’t allowed). I also started doing side bends today (8reps/set, 77lbs for now, should get to 100lbs by the end of the summer)and noticed I felt goooooooood (well, my spine did, anyway). Did anyone else notice this when doing side bends?