Scoliosis Specific Physical Therapy – The Schroth Method

Schroth Certified Therapy: ,

What is Schroth? How does it differ from regular Physical Therapy?
The Schroth method is a conservative physical therapy practice for individuals with scoliosis and kyphosis. This method uses specific exercises and corrective breathing techniques to elongate the trunk and correct the imbalances of the body. The correctional goal is to shape the trunk so as to achieve more symmetry by developing the soft tissue surrounding the trunk and rib cage. Benefits of more trunk symmetry includes: reduced pain, slowed or halted curve progression, and improved cardio-pulmonary function, overall mobility, and postural stability.

Regular Physical Therapy
Typically regular physical therapy focuses on trying to strengthen the core muscles, stretch the tight muscles and use manual techniques to lessen the rib prominence or back asymmetry. Unfortunately, regular physical therapy does not address the fact that a scoliotic curve is three-dimensional.

How does Schroth work? Do you need to go on a consistent basis?
The exercises are determined by the curve patterns and severity, as well as the patient’s age and level of function and fitness. They are designed to create awareness of posture and alignment through proper positioning and repetition. The number of hours spent performing the scoliosis specific exercises will pay off in the long run. Repetition and postural awareness are all very necessary for maximizing the benefits of the Schroth method.

Typically, after the initial evaluation, patients attend six, one-hour, sessions to learn patient specific exercises that they can continue at home. Then, there is a recommended follow up after 3-4 weeks to check in and ensure all exercises are continuing at home without difficulty.

Who benefits the most from Schroth? Ages? Curvature?
Schroth can be used to treat patients with scoliosis and kyphosis of all ages and in all stages of treatment: before surgery, after surgery, and especially if the Cobb Angle has not progressed to a curvature where surgery is necessary.

What are different activities that work with the Schroth method? Pilates or Yoga? Are there any to avoid?
Pilates, and yoga can only pair well with Schroth if the instructor is educated on the method and understands the individual’s curve. It has always been stressed to each patient to activate the core muscles while keeping the spine in a neutral position. Patients should avoid stretches that encourage repeated flexion, rotation or extension.

What are the Schroth exercise principles?
• Axial elongation
• Asymmetric sagittal straightening
• Increasing frontal plan corrections
• Rotational breathing

What are the Schroth exercise goals?
• Stabilization of the curve/s
• Mobilization of stiff body parts
• Improvement of postural alignment during daily activities
• Promote corrections
• Enhance neuromuscular control
• Increase muscle strength and endurance
• Pain reduction

If you are ready to seek out a Schroth therapist, be sure that they are Schroth-certified. To learn more and find a Schroth therapist near you, visit these websites: Schroth-Barcelona Institute and Schroth Physical Therapists.