Are Trampolines Bad for Scoliosis? [YES, HERE’S WHY]

Wondering if Trampolines are bad for scoliosis? There is no direct study that says that trampolining causes scoliosis to get worse, however, multiple medical organizations have warned against it.

Trampolines are both incredibly fun and considered brilliant exercise for adults and children alike. Rebounding exercise is considered a good workout – requiring little equipment and having a lot of strain taken off the body whilst working out, but if you happen to have a problem with your back, such as scoliosis, is it good for you?

So, why do some think that trampolining causes scoliosis to get worse – and what kind of exercises would be good for scoliosis if trampolining is dubious? But first, let’s cover scoliosis and what it is before we discuss how exercises affect it.

Green trampoline on the lawn in garden close-up empty

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Is Trampolining Bad For Scoliosis?

So, if severe scoliosis can make certain exercises difficult, then is trampolining considered one of the exercises doctors recommend avoiding?

Unfortunately, the answer is yes; many different organizations have recommended that those with scoliosis do not trampoline. The National Scoliosis Foundation has warned against it, and the London Orthotic Consultancy claims trampolining is one of the few sports they advise against.

What Exercises Are Good For Scoliosis?

If trampolining isn’t good for scoliosis, then what kinds of exercises are good for those with scoliosis? Well, the London Orthotic Consultancy recommends weight-bearing exercises that put gentle pressure on the spine, which will gradually strengthen it. They also recommend standing exercises for the same reason, which may include:

  • Netball
  • Basketball
  • Rock Climbing.

These exercises increase the strength of the extensors, which are the muscles that keep us bipedal against the force of gravity.

  • Yoga
  • Pilates
  • Gymnastics

These exercises increase a person’s core strength and flexibility, which is also very beneficial for those with scoliosis.

But that is recommended for mild scoliosis. If a person has a more severe level of scoliosis, then certain exercises may hurt to perform, but other exercises which focus on strengthening core muscles, improving posture, and reducing pain and tiredness, can be very beneficial. This is generally the yoga, gymnastics, and Pilates set, but some of these specific exercises include:

  • Pelvic tilts
  • Sitting Rotation Stretches
  • Cat/Cow Yoga Stretches
  • Bird/Dog Yoga Stretches
  • Planking

If a person is particularly worried about what exercises they should and should not do for their scoliosis, then they should research, and possibly ask their doctor about physiotherapy.

Physiotherapy often involves sports, or other exercise regimes tailored for the individual’s specific needs, postural compensations, and flexibility level. Factors like age, the level of pain a person is in, and tolerance for exercise must also be considered. A good physiotherapist will be able to design and guide a person through an exercise regime that will help with their condition.

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Which Sports Are Bad For Scoliosis?

There are many different sports that are bad for those with scoliosis in many different ways, so those with scoliosis need to be careful about what they do, despite the fact that exercise is recommended.

Unfortunately, trampolining may be one of the worst exercises to do for those with scoliosis. The reasons for this are that trampolining increases the force of gravity on the spine and can compress an abnormally curved spine even further, aggravating the condition and making it worse.

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Most other exercises are not as bad – being recommended in small doses, or not recommended for lack of benefits rather than overall avoidance, but some of these include:

  • Swimming – for the reason that it involves very little weight-based exercise and so has little benefit for those with scoliosis (this is unless you are specifically working out the rib cage, which swimming can be very beneficial for)
  • Cycling and rowing – for the reason that they involve a lot of sitting down which may compress the spine
  • Weightlifting – for the same reason that it compresses the spine. Deadlifting is the worst version of weightlifting for scoliosis.
  • Squats – squats, lunges, and hamstring curls can put a surprising pressure on a person’s spine and is best avoided.
  • Torso Extensions – any exercise that includes repeated extending of the torso, be it ballet, dancing, high jumps, or backbends, are naturally at risk to aggravate scoliosis and should be avoided.
    Extreme Yoga – this one should be particularly noted as whilst certain yoga poses can be extremely beneficial for those with scoliosis, such as Cat/Cow, it is important to note that extreme poses do the opposite and may aggravate the condition. When doing yoga, someone with the condition should be extremely careful.
    Contact sports – this involves American football, martial arts, and boxing. Any contact sport can lead to significant stress on the spine, whether that be through hits to the head or being tackled, and that can aggravate scoliosis and make it much worse – especially if the person has had surgery.

What Is Scoliosis Exactly?

For those who don’t know, scoliosis is an abnormal curvature of the spine. The spine should curve gently in an S shape, but if it curves abnormally, a person might experience some symptoms such as:

  • Visible abnormal curvature
  • Uneven shoulders
  • Leaning to one side
  • The ribs sticking out to one side
  • Clothes not fitting

In approximately eight out of ten cases, scoliosis has an unknown cause. In the medical field, this is called Idiopathic Scoliosis. There is no way it can be prevented and isn’t thought to be related to exercise and diet.

But it may also be because of congenital causes, because of an underlying nerve or muscle condition, such as muscular dystrophy or cerebral palsy, or from natural degeneration with age.

Most of the time, scoliosis isn’t painful and does not need the person to have any treatment or surgery, and it is thought that people with scoliosis should not avoid exercise unless specifically told to by their doctors. However, if a person has moderate to severe scoliosis, they may experience back pain and fatigue, which may make exercise difficult.

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Doctors recommend that those with scoliosis do gentle exercises to strengthen their cores and improve their postures, but there are many exercises to avoid for those who have them.

Unfortunately, trampolining is considered one of the worst exercises to do for people with scoliosis, on account of how much rebound exercise compresses the spine. In its stead, doctors recommend standing exercises, flexibility exercises, or core strengthening exercises.