Scoliosis Treatment – Schroth Method

Providing individuals with specific exercises, guidance, and self-management techniques for addressing their scoliosis and other spinal conditions
Introduction
  • History of Schroth

    Katharina Schroth was born February 22, 1894, in Dresden, Germany. She was diagnosed with scoliosis as a teen. The doctors thought it would be best for her to have surgery to correct the curvature of her spine. However, she did not want surgery. She decided that she would figure out how to exercise, work and live life with her body. She created a program of education for herself and for others in 1920 called the Schroth Method. Christa Lehnert-Schroth, Katharina's daughter, completed physical therapy school and helped her mother further develop her theories and training practices. The family's interests and support grew with Katharina's grandson Han-Rudolf Weiss, MD. Together they opened up an in-patient facility in Bad Sobernheim, Germany.

    Here they developed a holistic approach to scoliosis and kyphosis care using bracing, nutrition, general wellness and exercise during a 6-week training program. Volumes of data about the effectiveness of Schroth was collected during these years. The family wrote books and literature about the effects of Schroth. By their leadership, the Schroth Method had its start in the world of non-surgical approaches to scoliosis. After dedicating her life to working with those who have scoliosis Katharina she passed away February 19, 1985, Bad Sobernheim, Germany

    The family has since sold the in-patient facility. The location still exists and is running under new leadership under the name of; Asklepios Katharina-Schroth Klinic. Christa wrote a book to describe her mother's ideas, theories and concepts. She worked daily with the faithful clients that followed her leadership in exercise for scoliosis. Christa passed away Mar 22, 2015. Han-Rudolf continues to develop concepts and ideas through his method called Scoli-logic.

    Elena Salva, a physiotherapist, learned about the Schroth Method in Germany and trained under Katharina and Christa. Elena's son-in-law, Dr. followed the ideas of Katharina and Christa to develop a school to teach the world about this method. The school's name is Barcelona Scoliosis Physical Therapy School (BSPTS). Our therapist Amy Sbihli, PT, MPT, DPT trained under Dr. Rigo in the United States, as well as Barcelona, Spain, and is a founding member of this School.  She is one of 5 instructors in the USA teaching under the BSPTS school.

  • What is it?

    Schroth Method Physical Therapy, incorporates three-dimensional curve-specific exercises, to help decrease the risk of curve progression, improve postural awareness, reduce pain, increase strength, and improve breathing and body mechanics. This exercise approach helps educate and motivate with an overall goal of improving the whole persons' quality of life.

    The Schroth Method is one of a few scoliosis specific exercise programs in the world. Scoliosis specific exercises are collectively called Physiotherapist Scoliosis Specific Exercise (PSSE). What these methods all have in common is:

    • A team approach to care with the doctor, orthotist and family
    • Self-elongation techniques
    • Education for the family and the patient on posture and body mechanics in the activities that the person likes to do
    • Spine stabilization exercises specific for scoliosis and kyphosis
    • Overall the goal is the hold the spine from progression


Clients
  • Who is it for?

    The Schroth Method is indicated for those who have Idiopathic Scoliosis (both Adult and Adolescent), excessive curvature of the thoracic spine (Juvenile and Adult Kyphosis), and Flatback. Schroth is used during brace weaning stages, pre- and post-surgically for all ages, for Juvenile Scoliosis, and Congenital Scoliosis. Other indications include: pregnancy, elderly, and infantile scoliosis. In all cases, this method is to be used at part of a team approach to care with your pediatrician, orthopedist, orthotists, Schroth certified therapist and when necessary a psychologist.

  • What to expect while training.

    We initiate our care by offering free screenings. Here you will meet with us to share your medical story as it relates to your kyphosis or scoliosis, discuss your goals of treatment, and some of the challenges you think lie ahead. A few measurements may be taken to help us get to know more about you. Then we will talk to you about what the Schroth Method is, what it looks like in practice at the clinic and at home, and finally what plan of treatment would be the best fit for you and your goals. After the screening, we can schedule a follow up visit for a full evaluation which usually lasts an hour.

    During the evaluation there is deeper assessment and education about Schroth and how we will use it to meet your goals. The assessment will look at:

    • Height
    • Torso symmetry
    • Joint flexibility
    • Breathing mechanics and function
    • X-ray findings
    • Overall strength

    Treatment duration and frequency are different for each case and will be jointly decided at the screening and before the first evaluation. In general, the treatment sessions include:

    • Patient education for posture and body mechanics during work, school, sports, music and rest
    • Schroth Method exercises education and progression as necessary
    • Support for compliance with home exercise and if applicable, brace wearing

    After the free screening, we can schedule an evaluation and treatment session in agreement with the plan that we choose for you. The basics of the program take about 15 hours of treatment. However, home exercise and modifications to your activities at home, work, and exercise programs are crucial. These modifications and adjustments will comprise the rest of the treatment hours. It is important that we consistently discuss and execute these modifications, so they are more fully integrated into your subconscious movement patterns. As the treatments progress, we will move to more challenging exercises for your level of ability. Most treatment plans are higher in frequency in the beginning and then wean down to monthly follow ups.

  • Adolescents/Kids

    Sessions are anywhere from 1-3 hours. It will not be a surprise. You are part of the decision-making process at your free screening. We will decide how long your sessions will be and how many sessions that you will need. After we decide, your first treatment session is called 'the evaluation'. We take measurements that give us baseline information. We use these measurements to watch you over time. The following 10-15 hours of training will be used to teach you about how to manage simple things like sitting posture at school, sleeping positions, carrying your backpack, modifying exercise mechanics in gym class and learning a home exercise program.

    How much you do your home exercise program is decided by you and the therapist during your sessions. Some people need to exercise 6 days a week for 30 minutes. Others need to exercise 3 times per week for 15 -20 minutes. It all depends on the specific factors of your case. We will reduce frequency as you start to show competency doing the exercises without help. Re-evaluations will be quarterly or between doctor visits. We wouldn't want to miss an opportunity to make your exercise program a better fit and make sure your brace is fitting optimally to keep you on the right path all the way to complete growth. Our goal is to work hard in the clinic, school and at home so that the measurements from the first day stay the same while you grow.

    It is important that we stick to the bracing and or exercises consistently through your growth years. That is when the risk of progression is the highest.

    If you are wearing a brace, we will talk about posture in the brace. We will also problem solve through the barriers that make it difficult to wear the brace all the hours of time that you need on a daily basis. If we cannot figure out how to make the brace work for you, we will communicate back to your doctor and orthotist about what we can do to help you achieve your bracing goals.

    Our visits will cover posture and mechanics in your specific activities that you are involved with in addition to Schroth Method specifically.

  • Parents

    If you are bringing a child that is 5-10 years old, you will be an integral part of the development and completion of the home exercise program. Between 11-13 and beyond is the age where the child can learn to do for themselves this program at home. A plan for adherence to the treatment plan will be created during the session to aid in communication with you and me about what the child is doing on a daily basis and how they think that they are doing.

    Re-evaluations in most cases are completed quarterly unless otherwise necessary.

    Treatment begins with more hours and frequency, however once the child shows independence, they will be working more at home than in the clinic. This would be a great time to consider joining a group to introduce your child to others who have scoliosis and are choosing to make healthy exercise choices to lead to their best possible life.


Results
  • S1 - Before and After
  • S2 - Before and After
  • S3 - Before and After

Evidence

FAQS
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