How does the Schroth method work?

The Schroth method uses specific exercises based on an individual’s scoliosis curve pattern. This method is based on self-awareness principals. This means that patients have to develop a self-awareness of where their body is in space, how they hold their bodies now, and how they should actually be holding their bodies; physical therapy and the Schroth Method can help patients to learn this self-awareness.

What can the patient expect?

The patient will receive education on their first visit about their curve type and their current posture/pattern that is effecting their activities of everyday living. The abnormal posture of the patient needs to be corrected from an imbalanced position. The patient will learn their corrected posture by supervised practice moving their body through space and holding this reformed position. The physical therapist works with the patient to help develop this self-awareness in three dimensions, along with a new breathing pattern to further expand concave or collapsed areas. With these exercises, we are correcting as much of the postural collapse as possible, in order to decrease the forces that may be contributing to the progression of the curve, pain, and limited lung function.

Is there a minimum age requirement to learn this exercise?

The guidelines state to wait until a child is 10 years old for females and 12 years old for males. Females enter their growth spurt before males, so we want to give them the information that they need while they are actively growing.

Does your curve have to be a specific degree before you can begin treatment?

To allow for structural changes to be corrected, the exercises are usually initiated at a 15 degree Cobb angle and based on chance of progression. If there are any pain or issues present as a coexistent problem, therapy can begin on a case by case basis.

Can the Schroth method benefit fused patients?

It is important for a surgically fused patient to understand where their body is in space. It’s also essential to consider the effect at the ends of the fused sites. All the movements that would have been distributed throughout the spine now occur above and below the fusion only. In some ways, it is even more important for a person with a fusion to know how to take care of their back.

What age range do you treat with the Schroth Method?

We treat patients aged 10 through skeletal maturity and any adult with curvature patters over 30 degrees that are currently progressing, have pain, or have post-menopausal changes. The progression of curves over 30 degree Cobb can and do occur and this information is well documented. The treatment is not only for standard scoliosis patterns, but also increased kyphosis that causes pain or progression.

If any potential patients have questions, feel free to contact Andrew Merget at the Martinez clinic.

Schroth Success Story: Alyssa Ouellette

“I found out that I had scoliosis around March 2016. The doctor suggested physical therapy to prevent the progression of the curve so I could avoid surgery. Over the summer, I started physical therapy with a great physical therapist [Andrew Merget] who really cared about me getting better. After many months of hard work I had another x-ray on December 1st and there was visible improvement when the doctor pulled up the pictures. He said the curve has decreased about 3 degrees! Now it is under 40 degrees because of my time in physical therapy!”