Schroth Method Treats Scoliosis with Physical Therapy

The Schroth Method is a tailored physical therapy approach to treat scoliosis a condition in which the spine curves abnormally — based on a patient’s degree of spine curvature. This nonsurgical scoliosis treatment option was developed by Katharina Schroth and popularized by her daughter Christa in the late 1800s. It uses exercises to return the patient’s spine to a more natural and balanced position. The goal of these physical therapy maneuvers is to de-rotate, elongate, and stabilize the spine.

Schroth physical therapy aims to:

  • Restore muscular symmetry and postural alignment
  • Breath into the concave side of the body
  • Teach patients to be more aware of their posture

What Are Schroth Exercises for Scoliosis?

Scoliosis is a complex condition that affects the spine not only from side to side, but also from a three-dimensional plane. From the back, the spine has a sideways curvature in a C or an S shape, but what isn’t visible to the naked eye is how the vertebrae of the spine rotate due to this curvature, and how spaces between the vertebrae can be compressed or stretched depending on the extent of the curve. That’s why the Schroth method is different from one patient to the next, and addresses scoliosis from a 3D perspective. Exercises can be performed while standing, sitting, or lying down. Props used during physical therapy include therapy balls, poles, and other objects to assist in correcting spinal curvature.

Components of Schroth Exercises

Schroth exercises, although different from person to person, include three important components:

  • Muscular Symmetry
    Abnormal spinal curvature changes how the muscles in the back function, as one side has weaker muscles that may be wasted away, while the other side has overworked and prominent muscles. The goal of Schroth exercises is to correct both problems.
  • Rotational Angular Breathing
    Breathing is an important part of the Schroth Method, and therapy involves breathing techniques called rotational angular breathing. This helps rotate the spine through breathing that helps reshape the ribcage and surrounding soft tissues.
  • Postural Awareness
    Katharina Schroth, the inventor of the Schroth technique, relied heavily on mirrors to treat patients in her practice so they could become more aware of their posture, because postural awareness is the first step to correcting it, especially when it comes to activities of daily living.

Patient Stories

  • It was hard being in the hospital for so long, but we were grateful that CSH allowed parents to stay. The hospital had a family lounge, game nights, and lots of ways to keep the parents informed. We had weekly meetings with his care team and received daily ...

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  • “The recovery was pretty challenging. But in my head, I was like, ‘I need to do this if I still want to play football in college.’ So I pushed through it, and in the end, it all came out amazing.”

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  • “I feel amazing. I can move. I can do so much more physical activity without feeling pain.”

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Patient Stories

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