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Scoliosis with Harrington Rod. How to tone my core?

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I had surgery for my scoliosis when I was 13. The doctor put a Harrington Rod in place. Since my back does not bend, I cannot do crunches or any other exercise that requires any bending or "crunching" of my core area. So I'm curious if anyone knows of any exercises or moves to help lose weight around and tone my core area. I've been struggling with this for years now and no one can seem to give me any pointers.
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First Helper User Profile chirosportscogee
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replied November 22nd, 2011
Are you able to twist at all?
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replied November 22nd, 2011
Nope. Not at all.
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replied January 2nd, 2012
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Hi, Have you found any answers yet? I am a 46 yr old woman who had/has scoliosis and has had the harrington rods put in my back 30 yrs ago. One exercise you can do would be to lye on your back, bend your knees to your stomach and then raise legs/feet up to ceiling, slowly bring you legs (straight) down towards the floor (point your toes) and then keep your legs/feet off the ground about 2 or 3 inches from the floor...holding it for 15 seconds or so...then repeat. Good luck!
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replied January 3rd, 2012
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Exercise for Harrington rod patient should basically include walking, since it gives many health benefits. You can also try Nerve Root Flexing. Lie on your back with your legs extended. Slowly lift your right leg while keeping your knee straight. Gently bring your leg toward your body until you feel a stretch along the backside of your leg. Put your hands on the back of your knee to increase the stretch. Pump your ankle while holding the position for 10 seconds, then slowly return to the original position. Relax 10 seconds. Repeat exercise 10 times, and then do the exercise again with left leg. Also, try pelvic tilt exercise, it doesn't require twisting. I sincerely hopes that these help. Take care

Dr. Michael Cohen
Chirosports Coogee
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replied January 3rd, 2012
Experienced User
There is one exercise that is a core exercise that does not require any movement of the upper extremity or back area at all. it's more movement of the whole body as one, it may take some time to get used to it because it's very painful on the core until you build up strength.

Basically you can lay flat on your stomach as if you were to do a push up, push yourself up onto your elbows then tighten your abs and try getting up onto your toes it's going to be difficult at first, do that for 20 seconds or as long as you can last, then switch to the left or right side and repeat on one elbow and use the other arm to balance by placing on your waist. If this wasn't explained right email me and I'll have my trainer write it for me.

On another note try swimming I'm not too sure if you're able to do it but it's a full body work out and it'll help as well.

I too have scoliosis but never did the surgery, I've seen it done on people but I for some reason never decided to go through with it.

GOOD LUCK!! Smile
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replied June 10th, 2013
I have 2 Herrington Rods and fused at top and bottom of spine. I was told to watch my physical activity and limit myself to minimal movements. I had the operation just prior to my 14th bday and ill be 40 in November. I am now a certified Zumba Instructor and love it! I have abs and I am healthy and very toned, which I was always afraid to aim for because of the physical activity involved because of all the caution I was given. I have never felt better!! I suggest this type of activity, as well as power walking or running and especially planks! Takes a while to build up your core strength but once you do you will feel and look tighter! Strengthening your core is so good for your back! I used to suffer from sore hips, back, neck... Now I feel great. My students don't believe me when I tell them that I can't move because I'm fused lol. It's awesome. Smile
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replied September 3rd, 2013
Need help with Harrington Rod
I am replying to the person who wrote about Zumba. I am really surprised to hear this because I have struggled for years using different methods on and off to try to maintain my pain. My belief at this point...where I am currently at is walking three times a week and simple exercises to strengthen my rhomboids as this is a very weak area. I want to believe that if I strenghthen my core I will get better but whenever I have done more intense things I have hurt myself. I have a harrington rod from t6 to t12 and I have trouble with my neck, shoulders, jaw, headaches, and my low back pain is coming back. I also have to limit walking because I get flare ups that seem to come whenever they feel like it. I know stress also has a factor but I don't know! I just want to get stronger and not have these nagging pains! Where are your rods fused? Did you have to be careful about certain things in the begginning? Do you get massage to help? Thanks for posting! I am thinking of some sort of Yoga but I am honestly very hesitant because I did a very slow style for 8 years only to find out it was extremely cultish! No lie! It was very bad and they try to make you believe all sorts of weird stuff about energetic powers, etc. I only want my own energy. I am not inviting any sort of weird stuff like that into my life.
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replied February 22nd, 2014
Scoliosis & core strengthening
Ive had rods since I was 11 and am 36 now. Within the last 6-7 months I've started biking,doing Pilates and even some Yoga...I simply refrain from some of the positions I can't do. I also thought I'd never be able to exercise. After just giving things a try, and seeing that I was able to do WAY more than I was told, my core is so much stronger and my back hurts so much less. It's just my opinion, but I think that,for liability purposes, doctors cannot/do not tell you to exercise. Oh, and planks are great too!
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replied March 13th, 2014
Bea
Hi...I am 26 now and I was operated when I was 13. Got Harrington Rod in middle and low back. I was always told I could do anything I wanted as long as my movement limitations and pain allowed me. I have been a diving instructor for 4 years now. I dive everyday at least twice a day. Also do lots of swimming and free diving. I rarely get any pain expect for when I get holidays and go back home for a month. Inactivity and lack of exercise give me pain and problems with the nerves in the arm. Water is the best thing ever for back problems. It allows you to exercise without your back holding the weight of your body. Hope that helps Wink
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replied June 20th, 2014
I had surgery for scoliosis when I was 12 years old. My Harrington rod goes from the base of my neck down to my tailbone. I have a metal triangle like piece that goes over my tailbone. I was told I couldn't do any running for 1 year and then 2 years on a lot of other activities. I was riding four wheelers in less than a year. I ran and rode bikes.

When I was 14 I gained some weight and started lifting weights. I can not lay back on a bench and lift overhead, but I always could lift standing up. I grew up working with horses which involves A LOT of heavy lifting. I use to enjoy kickboxing and Tai Chi. I was told I could do whatever I wanted within my limits. I did not start having back pain and problems in my neck until I gained weight. When I lost weight I felt great. I do yoga, bellydance, martial arts and whatever else I can. I don't force myself to bend and I do things within my range. I also still do crunches. I may not be able to bend upwards so much, but you can do this without bending in the back. I also do reverse crunches which is supposed to work your lower abs more. I use to do 500 crunches a day. Just because you have limited range does not mean you can't do something. Your just more stiff and straight doing it.
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