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Schroth Method for Scoliosis

The Schroth Method is a conservative physical therapy practice for individuals with scoliosis and Scheuermann’s Kyphosis.  When is Schroth indicated?

* During a “wait and see” period prescribed by your physician

*Conservative management when surgery is indicated

*Before surgery

*After surgery 

PhysioPartners is one of the only clinics in the Chicagoland that offers the Schroth Method with certified BSPTS providers.  Erin Buenger, PT, DPT, completed her certification in March 2018.  Stephanie Penny, PT, DPT, completed her certification in 2014. Both therapists practice at the Lakeview location.  Your therapist will teach you specific exercises to address your individual needs and teach you a cohesive home exercise program for long term self-management. We offer two monthly small group maintenance sessions to help you sustain results and perfect your form once you have completed your plan of care.  These sessions can also be a great support system, as well.

Call (773) 665-9950 for more information and to schedule in Lakeview office only.

Download this resource to discuss with your physician.

Hope for an S-Shaped Back

Here are frequently asked questions about the Schroth Method: What is the Schroth Method?

The Schroth Method is a conservative treatment aimed at slowing or stopping curve progression in adolescents.  The Schroth Method was originally developed by Katharina Schroth in the 1920’s in Meissen, Germany. She developed it with her daughter while researching treatments for her own scoliotic condition.  By the 1960’s, the Schroth Method became the standard non-surgical treatment for scoliosis, and it has been used across Europe since this time.  It more recently has developed a reputation in the United States.  The Barcelona Scoliosis Physical Therapy School (BSPTS) is based on the original work of Katharina Schroth.  BSPTS teaches the original principles of Schroth, with advanced concepts learned during years of clinical experience and research. The pioneer of the Barcelona school was the Spanish physical therapist Elena Salvá who was friends with Katharina Schroth.  Elena Salvá founded the Institute with her name in Barcelona and started to use the Schroth Method to treat scoliosis patients in 1968. Later, Elena’s daughter and son in law, both medical doctors, continued her work at the Institute.      

What should I expect during my evaluation and how long will I attend therapy?

The first visit will include a thorough evaluation of the patient’s posture, curve, range of motion and strength to create an individualized treatment plan.  A typically plan of care includes an average of 10 sessions, dependent on client needs, severity of curve, pain, concurrent pathologies, prior level of fitness and adherence to the prescribed home exercise program. 

What do I bring to the first visit?

Please bring your prescription and X-ray imaging.  We require an x-ray for review by your second or third visit.  Please bring any old imaging for comparison. A scoliosis series x-ray is recommended as it includes a full spine x-ray. Request your Cobb Angle and Risser Stage (if you are still growing, this tells us how much growing you have left). Bring the disc and/or copy of your films.  We prefer patients wear a fitted top and fitted pants for the assessment.  A non-racerback bra is helpful for females. Please bring your brace if you wear one, however please be out of the brace for 8-10 hours prior to the evaluation. 

What are the exercises and treatment like?

Our sessions are one-on-one.  The exercises are determined on an individual basis and also involve conventional physical therapist care to address the client as a whole.  They are designed to create awareness of posture and alignment through proper positioning and repetition.  Many scoliosis patients have visual postural deviations, including hollowing of their backs, prominent ribs or rib humps, pelvic and shoulder asymmetries.  We encourage exercises that restore the alignment of the pelvis and reduce the protruding areas of the trunk. The patient will be guided with hands-on feedback, extensive verbal cuing and mirrors to receive new visual information and is asked to remember how the alignment and corrections feel.  The patient will develop a sense of where they need to elongate, activate and breathe to align the body.  Once the patient becomes familiar with his or her individual curve pattern and the principles of the corrections, the method includes various positions that will apply all of the concepts in the same manner.  This makes the program easy to follow and implement into activities of daily living.  The patient will also learn the “dos and don’ts” surrounding physical activity, based on their curve.   

What are the goals of Schroth treatment?·       

  • reduce pain
  • improve breathing
  • improve posture and postural awareness
  • improve endurance and tolerance to activities
  • improve body mechanics
  • improve strength and flexibility
  • improve quality of life
  • improve the individual’s understanding of scoliosis
  • improve brace compliance and wear (if indicated)  

How much will I improve?

The ability to decrease the curve depends on the type of scoliosis, and other clinical factors, such as age, curve magnitude, and skeletal age. In addition, your ability to perform the exercises properly and consistently is of great importance!  Each case is unique, and many known and unknown factors drive the final result.  A realistic goal is to slow or halt curve progression.  Some research has found that adolescents not at peak skeletal maturity are able to decrease their Cobb angle or curvature.  Adults participating in the Schroth Method have been shown to slow or stop curve progression, improve breathing function, decrease rib hump size, improve posture and report decreased pain. Review the medical literature supporting the Schroth Method for the treatment of scoliosis.

What happens after I have been trained in the Schroth Method?

After completing an intensive course of training with a Schroth therapist, the patient is able to perform his or her exercises at home. Continuation of exercises five times a week is recommended as these should be utilized as a lifetime management tool for the scoliosis patient. Over time, the patient increasingly learns to develop a sense of postural awareness and correction, and we continued conscientiousness of posture after leaving therapy and throughout daily activities, such as getting up in the morning, going to school or work and social.  The posture learned through the Schroth method should become the patient’s new habitual posture for life. 

Does insurance cover treatment?

Treatment with the Schroth Method for scoliosis is typically eligible for coverage by insurance. Some plans require a physician’s referral.  Our administrative staff can assist in verifying your specific benefits.  We also offer discounted packages if you do not have insurance coverage.   

Don’t live near Chicago or on a Holiday Break?

We are currently developing multi-day intensive sessions that build a foundation for children and teens to start Schroth exercises in a shorter period of time.  Please contact our office for availability.

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