Schroth Method

Scoliosis and the Schroth Method

Scoliosis is a complex 3-dimensional deformity of the spine and trunk in otherwise healthy individuals that can be progressive. 

Scoliosis is often initially diagnosed when a patient enters adolescence but can start at a younger age (infantile or juvenile scoliosis). When the curvature initiates or becomes evident as the patient goes through puberty, it is called Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis, or AIS. 

The Schroth Method offers a conservative alternative to the “wait and see” approach and provides a means of effective treatment for this population as adolescents which continues to reduce curve progression as they age. 

Research shows that the Schroth Method provides many benefits for those with scoliosis. Schroth Method: 

  • Reduces prevalence of surgical intervention.
  • Reduces curve progression.
  • Reduces or eliminates pain.
  • Improves vital capacity and lung capacity.
  • Is beneficial before and after spinal fusion surgery to improve outcomes. 
  • Improves outcomes for patients currently in a brace. 

Schroth Method is a treatment option for people of all ages with scoliosis and kyphosis. Contact us today to see if you are a candidate for the Schroth Method. 

Adolescents with scoliosis become adults with scoliosis

Did you know that scoliosis doesn't stop being a problem when you stop growing?  As you age, a history of scoliosis can cause pain and poor posture throughout the lifespan - especially when you add degenerative changes that occur over time. Come see how Align Physical Therapy can help you manage your scoliosis, no matter your age!

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Align Physical Therapy

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Want to learn morE? Here is what the research says:

 The Schroth Method offers a conservative alternative to the “wait and see” approach and provides a means of effective treatment for this population as adolescents which continues to reduce curve progression as they age. 

  • The Schroth Method was developed in the 1920’s by Katharina Schroth and further developed by her daughter, Christa Lehnert-Schroth. By the 1960’s the Schroth Method had become the standard non-surgical treatment for scoliosis in Germany. 
  • The Schroth Method is active therapeutic exercise; therapy is a plan of cognitive, sensory-motor, and kinesthetic training to teach the patient to improve his/her scoliosis posture with the understanding that scoliosis posture promotes curve progression. 
  • The goals of Schroth Method include halting curve progression, avoiding surgery, reducing pain, improving vital capacity, and improving cosmesis. 
  • The Schroth Method can work well in conjunction with bracing, and is recommended both before and after surgery for those who are surgical candidates, for optimal outcomes.

Research shows that the Schroth Method provides many benefits for those with scoliosis:

Schroth Method reduces prevalence of surgical intervention:

  • A 2003 study of over 100 patients 15 years or older with AIS found a significant difference in the prevalence of surgery; in the Schroth Method and bracing group, 5.6% ultimately had spinal fusion compared to 28.1% in the non-intervention group.[1]

Schroth Method reduces curve progression:

  • A 2003 study looked at incidence of progression in two independent age/gender matched groups starting at time of diagnosis. Untreated patients progressed 1.5-2.9x more than those treated by the Schroth Method.[2]
  • A study with 181 scoliosis patients with an average Cobb angle of 27 degrees, average age of 12.7, and a risser score 1.4 showed no curve progression at 33 months (as defined by 5+ deg/year).[3] This is compared to the reported 23.2% incidence of progression in a study of 727 patients with AIS who had no treatment.[4]
  • A study of over 100 patients looking at curvatures on X-ray pre/post treatment found that 43.93% of patients undergoing Schroth Method treatment had an improvement in X-ray by >5 degrees.[5] 

Schroth Method reduces or eliminates pain:

  • In a study with 311 patients, 80% of them reduced or eliminated pain following participation in a Schroth Program – of that 80%, 43.7% had complete elimination of pain.[6]

Schroth Method improves vital capacity and lung capacity: 

  • Schroth Method has been shown to increase vital capacity by 14-19% in a study of 813 patients.[7]

Schroth Method is beneficial even after spinal fusion surgery:

  • Spinal fusion does not eliminate the need for physical therapy to correct patients’ posture and maintain stability above and below the fused segment.[8]

[1] Rigo M, Reiter Ch, Weiss HR. “Effect of conservative management on the prevalence of surgery in patients with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis.” Pediatric Rehabilitation 2003 Jul-Dec;6(3-4):209-14.

[2] Weiss HR, Weiss G, Petermann F. “Incidence of curvature progression in idiopathic scoliosis patients treated with scoliosis in-patient rehabilitation (SIR): an age-and sex-matched controlled study.” Pediatric Rehabilitation 2003.Jan-Mar;6(1):23-30. 

[3] Weiss HR, Lohshmidt K, el-Obeidi N, Verres C. “Preliminary results and worst-case analysis of in-patient scoliosis rehabilitation.” Pediatric Rehabilitation 1997 Vol. 1(1):35-40. 

[4] Lonstein JE, Carlson JM. “The prediction of curve progression in untreated idiopathic scoliosis during growth.” J Bone Joint Surg Am 1984.Sept;66(7):1061-71. 

[5] Weiss HR. “Influence of an in-patient exercise program on scoliotic curve.” Italian Journal of Orthopedic Traumatology. 1992,18(3):395-406.

[6] Weiss HR. “Scoliosis-related pain in adults: Treatment influences.” European Journal of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation 3/3(1993):91-94. 

[7] Weiss, HR. “The effect of an exercise program on vital capacity and rib mobility in patients with idiopathic scoliosis.” Spine Vol. 16(1/1991). 

[8] Lehnert-Schroth, Christa. “Physiotherapy for scoliosis patients following spinal fusion surgery.” Krankengymnastik 48(1996):212-19.