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Scoliosis treatments and the Schroth method

Scoliosis treatments and the Schroth method

Scoliosis is a three-dimensional abnormality of the spine and trunk where the spine twists and curves to the side. It can affect any or all of the 3 major sections of the spine including cervical, thoracic, and lumbar regions. It affects 2 to 3 per cent of the population, or an estimated 6 to 9 million people in the United States. Although the condition is most commonly associated with children and teens, it can affect people at any age.

When children and teens are diagnosed with the condition, parents may jump to blame themselves, thinking that there was something they could have done to prevent it. While carrying a heavy backpack or having poor posture may be associated with spine and back conditions, they do not cause scoliosis.

In roughly 8 out of 10 cases, the cause of scoliosis is unknown. This is called idiopathic scoliosis. Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis is the most common type of scoliosis and is usually diagnoses during puberty. Approximately 30% of all adolescents with idiopathic scoliosis have a family history of scoliosis.

Less commonly, scoliosis may be caused by the bones of the spine not forming properly in the womb. This is known as congenital scoliosis and is usually detected at a young age.

Neuromuscular scoliosis can result from an underlying nerve or muscle condition such as cerebral palsy, spinal cord trauma, muscular dystrophy, spinal muscular atrophy and spina bifida. Finally, there is degenerative scoliosis caused by wear and tear on the spine with age.

The tell-tale signs of scoliosis include a visibly curved spine, head tilted slightly to one side, asymmetry of the rib cage so ribs may be different heights, leaning to 1 side, uneven shoulders, and 1 shoulder or hip sticking out at 1 side. In adults, the most common symptoms are pain and a visible bulge on the back at the site of the pain.

The specific treatment recommended by your doctor will depend on your age, how severe the curve is, and whether it’s likely to get worse with time. Older children may wear a back brace to prevent the curve from getting worse while they are still growing. Sometimes surgery may be necessary to control the growth of the spine.

Historically, scoliosis treatments were limited to bracing or surgery. Today, there is another nonsurgical treatment option available: the Schroth method. The Schroth method is a personalized physical therapy regimen that can only be directed and supervised by a Schroth certified physical therapist.

Schroth exercises are curve specific exercises designed to de-rotate, elongate and stabilize the spine in a three-dimensional plane. These exercises are used to improve alignment of head, shoulders, spine, hips, and pelvis to decrease the scoliotic posture and establish a more globally balanced, symmetrical posture to arrest or decrease curve progression.

The treatment approach can be used to treat scoliosis patients of all ages and in all stages of scoliosis, alongside bracing and following surgery. The method can reduce or stop the progression of the spinal curve, and produce better spine and pelvic alignment. Patients who have received physical therapy using the Schroth method have experienced improvement in posture, pain reduction, breathing, self-appearance, core stability and strength, movement and day-to-day function.

If you or a loved one receive a scoliosis diagnosis, it’s good to know that most people with the condition are able to live normal lives and can do most activities including sports and exercise. Surgery and bracing are just 2 of the treatment options available, and it may be that pain medication, spinal injections, or physical therapy are enough to help you live a pain-free and active life.

About the Author: Sandra Tomasura, PT, treats patients at Allied Services Wilkes-Barre Rehab Center. She is a licensed physical therapist with experience including outpatient orthopedics, spine, and scoliosis. She has received the BSPTS C1 and C2 Schroth Certifications for the 3-D treatment of Scoliosis According to the Principles of C.L.Schroth and NDT Certification for Adults.
Scoliosis Treatment at Allied Services

The Schroth Method is a personalized physical therapy regimen that can only be directed and supervised by a Schroth certified physical therapist. The only Schroth-certified physical therapists in Northeastern Pennsylvania are available at Allied Services Integrated Health System.

Call 570-826-3900 in Wilkes-Barre
Call 570-348-1360 in Scranton)
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