Scoliosis drawing from Myotherapy book

SCOLIOSIS MEANS a curvature of the spine and is more common than you might think. “It comes from the Greek work skilios, for twisted and means an appreciable lateral deviation in the normally straight, vertical spine. Like headaches there are a lot of words used to describe the condition: cicatricial, empyematic, habit, inflammatory, ischiatric, ocular, osteopathic, paralytic, rachitic, sciatic and staic.”

The one most seen by Bonnie Prudden Myotherapists is called idiopathic scoliosis. “Idio (Greek) is a combining form denoting relationship to self or one’s own as something separate and distinct. Pathos is the Greek word for disease. Idiopathy is a morbid state of spontaneous origin. To us, however, spontaneous usually seems to mean the surfacing of something that has been going on for a long time and usually has had a very definite external influence.” —Myotherapy: Bonnie Prudden’s Complete Guide to Pain-Free Living

How to check for scoliosisAlthough scoliosis usually shows up around age eleven, its beginning can be as far back as sitting in the womb at an awkward position. Postural habits and uneven leg length can also contribute to idiopathic scoliosis, which in essence means that nobody knows why. Bones don’t go anywhere unless muscles are doing their work. In this case you could say they are doing their dirty work by shortening and pulling on the spine.

What to Do?

Have the subject stand with back to you and feet apart. As she / he leans slowly downward as though to touch the floor, stoop over to watch the level of the back. If one side rises higher than the other at any time during the descent, a scoliosis is present.

Checking for scoliosisHunting for trigger pointsTAKE MEASUREMENTS
*Measure the distance between the tip of each shoulder blade and the spine. *Mark each tip with a felt pen and lay a ruler across the back at the level of the lowest point. Then, with the help of another ruler across the back at the higher mark, measure the distance between the two rulers. The two measurements will show you how far out of line the spine is.

Using the two illustrations here begin your hunt for the trigger points that are causing the muscles to tighten and pull the spine out of alignment. More complete and specific instructions are in Myotherapy: Bonnie Prudden’s Complete Guide to Pain-Free Living (see our website store to purchase your own copy).

Follow with Corrective Exercises

Weighted Arm ExerciseWEIGHTED ARM
Lie on the side to which the main curve bows. Place a small pillow under that side. You will see that the back is now straight. Holding a weight in your free hand, allow the straight arm to move from above your head in a wide arc down to your side. As you raise the arm over your head inhale fully. As you lower, exhale. Do NOT do the exercise on the other side. Repeat 8 times

Cat Back and Tired Horse exercisesCAT BACK
Start on hands and knees with arms straight. Press the entire back up into an arch and drop the head to stretch the muscles you have just freed a well as the neighboring muscles. Repeat 8 times.

Corrective exercises should be done often throughout the day to remind the muscles to learn a new habit.

Since scoliosis doesn’t set until the youngster has stopped growing, it is important to continue your hunt for trigger points on a weekly basis and the exercises on a daily basis. Take the measurements again in a month and note the progress as a result of your work.

Although you can’t change the scoliosis you can make the person more comfortable and keep the problem from getting worse by treating the trigger points and doing the corrective exercises.


The photos and illustrations in this article are from Myotherapy: Bonnie Prudden’s Complete Guide to Pain-Free Living.

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For more information about Bonnie Prudden®, Bonnie Prudden Myotherapy®, workshops, books, self-help tools, DVDs, educational videos, and blogs, visit Or call 520-529-3979 if you have questions or need help. Enid Whittaker, Managing Director, Bonnie Prudden Myotherapy®