There are more than 3 million scoliosis cases per year in the United States.
The cause of most cases is unknown but it is believed to involve a combination of genetic and environmental factors. For most, the only treatments readily available have been a brace or surgery. But the Schroth Method provides an alternative option for scoliosis treatment that uses customized exercises to return the curved spine to a more natural position.
What is the Schroth Method?
In 1921 Katherine Schroth developed an exercise method for addressing scoliosis based upon corrective movement principles. When applied, these principles would change spinal loading, incorporate dynamic postural re-education, and change the postural balance.
It was a non-invasive, non-surgical approach that would retrain the body’s musculature to help the alignment to a more neutral stance. Ms. Schroth’s technique was to address positioning, corrective breathing, trunk elongation, stabilization, and mobilization. The ultimate goal of her technique was to avoid asymmetric loading of the spine, improve dynamic alignment, change habitual movement patterns, and incorporate spinal relaxation.
How Does this Treatment Work?
The Schroth Method for scoliosis is a conservative exercise in a three-dimensional approach to elongate the trunk to improve posture and mobility as well as correct imbalances of the spine. This is achieved through physical therapy exercises which have the following goals:
- Stabilization of the curve/s
- Mobilization of stiff body parts
- Improve postural alignment
- Teach activities of daily living
- Promotes corrections
- Enhance neuromuscular control
- Increase muscle strength and endurance
- Pain reduction
- Improve Cardio-pulmonary function
The main goal of this treatment is to prevent scoliosis from advancing. Depending on your age, bone maturity and the degree of curvature, bracing may also be a part of the treatment.
Who Can Benefit from Schroth?
Anyone can benefit from the Schroth method including patients in all stages of scoliosis and those who have already had surgery. This approach is approved for patients of all ages.
A juvenile can reduce the rate of curve progression and improve their functional alignment. An adult with stable scoliosis but concurrent lumbar, cervical or pelvic pathology can maximize symmetry. And adults with degenerative scoliosis or post-lumbar spine surgery can benefit from improved functional movement and body mechanics with activities of daily living.
What Type of Results Can I Expect from this Method?
Most patients see visible improvement in the degree of their spine curvature after completing the Schroth treatment; but, the results are dependent upon the ability and commitment of the patient.
Below are the most common outcomes of the Schroth treatment:
- Correction of the curve in the spine
- Less pain
- Easier breathing
- Improved overall movement pattern and function
- Better pelvis alignment
- Improved self-management and understanding of the spine
- Improved posture
- Improved core stability and strength
How Long Will I be in Therapy for This?
Each patient who comes to our practice is unique and requires a program tailored to their diagnosis. So the number of treatments and frequency is dependent upon many factors including age, the severity of scoliosis, and adherence to our recommendations. However, in general, the therapy is expected to be 2 times per week for 6-8 weeks to see significant results.
At Pivotal Physical Therapy we have great respect for the Schroth method and through therapeutic techniques obtain maximum benefit for our patients.