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What is the Schroth Method?

Kristin Romeo, DPT Treating Patient with Schroth Exercise 2 | Park Sports Physical Therapy

Written by Kristin Romeo, DPT
Edited by Alex Ariza

 

What is Scoliosis?

curvature scoliosis diagram

Scoliosis is a three-dimensional abnormal curvature of the spine. Everyone’s spine has a natural curvature to it, however, if that curvature progresses beyond a certain degree it can be classified as scoliosis. Scoliosis occurs equally among genders but girls seem to be more likely to have scoliosis that has progressed to a level that requires treatment. There are an array of health issues that can accompany scoliosis such as abnormal breathing patterns, visible prominences and poor posture due to muscular imbalances.

What causes Scoliosis?

Scoliosis X-Ray
X-ray image of a person with Scoliosis. Original Image Source: https://www.orthobullets.com/spine/2053/adolescent-idiopathic-scoliosis

There are several different types of scoliosis, however, the majority of scoliosis cases are idiopathic, meaning it has an unknown origin. Idiopathic scoliosis typically begins at a young age and becomes more pronounced during periods of rapid growth.

What are the symptoms of scoliosis?

Pain does not always accompany scoliosis. Scoliosis can present in a variety ways such as abnormal trunk lean, uneven rib cage/shoulders or even back pain. If you suspect scoliosis contact your primary care provider to address your concerns. Prior to Schroth treatment, an x-ray is needed as scoliosis can present differently externally due to overlying musculature and does not give us the full picture. Knowing the bony anatomy allows us to monitor your progress and tailor your treatment to your specific curvature.

rib cage scoliosis cross section diagram

What is the Schroth Method?

Kristin Romeo, DPT Treating Patient with Schroth Exercise 5 | Park Sports Physical Therapy

The Schroth Method is a conservative form of scoliosis treatment designed to target the flexible, postural component of scoliosis. The method was created in Germany in the 1920’s by Katharina Schroth as a way to treat her own scoliosis. Since then the method has made its way across the globe, only recently in the US. Scoliosis specific exercises are targeted specifically to each patient’s curvature through the use of five principles of correction. Subtle postural corrections, spinal distraction and isometric tension help to increase muscle activation and strength in a neutral spinal alignment.

What can I expect during a session of Schroth method physical therapy?

On your first visit, you will be fully evaluated. We will take a look at your posture, your muscular imbalances, address any goals or concerns you may have and take a variety of measurements. You will be sent home the first day with the beginnings of a home exercise program. During your follow-up treatment sessions, we will be utilizing a variety of equipment such as a Schroth wall ladder, physioball, rice bags and Therabands. You will learn about the five principles of correction (1. Auto-elongation (detorsion); 2. Deflection; 3. Derotation; 4. Rotational breathing; and 5. Stabilization) and how to implement them into your home exercise program. We will discuss safe ways to lift, sit and postural corrections to integrate into your daily routine.

Do you or your child suffer from Scoliosis or Kyphosis? We can help. Schedule your evaluation today.

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