What is the Schroth Method?
The Schroth Method is a non-surgical, exercise and positional based treatment technique for patients with Scoliosis. The program uses conservative methods to return a curved spine to a more neutral position, and utilizes a three-dimensional approach as part of a comprehensive treatment technique. Depending on the severity of the curve, this method can be used in tandem with other physical therapy interventions including trigger point dry needling, postural retraining, and bracing.
Am I a Candidate for Schroth Method Therapy?
Any individual with scoliosis can benefit from Schroth Method therapy, doesn’t matter the age or the degree of curvature. Because the degree and type of curve are unique in each patient with scoliosis, exercises are modified for each individual patient. The Schroth Method is an effective, non-invasive approach to scoliosis treatment for individuals that experience pain or discomfort with activities of daily living. The most critical component of this program is self-commitment from the patient. Your Physical Therapist will provide the tools needed for the patient to initiate the correction process during the program, but continuation of home exercises is a lifelong commitment for Scoliosis patients.
What Are the 4 Benefits of the Schroth Method?
The purpose of the Schroth Method, for scoliosis patients, is to ultimately reduce the amount of dysfunction, and possible pain, the patient experiences on a daily basis. This method benefits patients because it utilizes techniques that focus on inhibiting the growth of the scoliosis curve, restoring muscular symmetry within the body, improving breathing, and creates postural awareness. In some cases, the Schroth Method can even reverse the irregular scoliosis curve.
1. Inhibits Curve Progression
While other scoliosis methods focus only on one plane of motion at a time, the Schroth Method focuses on all three planes of motion. By using this 3D approach, the spine is derotating in the same planes of motion as the deformity, and is more effective in halting the curve progression.
2. Restores Muscular Symmetry
Due to the nature of a scoliosis curve, one side of the curve will have muscles that are elongated and weak, while the other side will have muscles that are shortened and overworked. Working to decrease tension on the side that is overworked while strengthening the side that is weak will help to balance out the symmetry.
3. Improves Breathing
Along with having a spinal curvature, the rib cage will also be altered due to how the ribs attach to the spine. This means that one side of your rib cage may have decreased expansion compared to the other. Specific breathing exercises, called Rotational Angular Breathing, will rotate the spine to help facilitate re-shaping of the rib cage and the surrounding soft tissue. This in turn will also help to improve the lung’s capacity.
4. Creates Postural Awareness
An important part of the Schroth Method is for the patient to improve their awareness of the body’s position in space (proprioception). This is accomplished using a mirror during positional exercises to increase visual feedback for the patient. This helps the patient be able to transfer their awareness to everyday life.
How Long is the Treatment for Schroth Method?
Treatment duration for the Schroth Method is patient specific depending on the severity of the curve, but most patients can expect to be treated anywhere from 3-10 weeks. Exercises should typically be performed daily, but this will be determined on an individual basis by the treating therapist. Once a patient has completed the program, continuation of home exercises is crucial for maintaining the progress accomplished from the Schroth Method.