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Schroth Method: A non-surgical alternative for treating scoliosis

Updated on March 11, 2012
One of the exercises of Schroth Method
One of the exercises of Schroth Method

In my previous hub, I mentioned (very briefly) the treatments for scoliosis, or the abnormal curvature of the spine. In this particular hub, let's take a closer look at one of the non-surgical alternatives, the Schroth Method.

Schroth Method was pioneered by a lay woman named Katharina Schroth, a teacher from Germany. Katharina had an abnormal spinal curvature and spent countless hours trying to minimise her deformity using a very simple, yet effective technique. She combined breathing technique, to expand the spine, and positioning of her torso, so that her deformity is minimized. In such position, she added basically strengthening exercises, to build the muscle for the corrected position. With time and discipline, Katharina managed to correct her scoliosis, and, as an adult, lived without her spinal deformity.

After the method is further developed, it was then introduced to the public, first, of course, in Germany. The Asklepios Katharina-Schroth-Klinik in Bad Sobernheim, Germany, is the clinic for intensive Schroth Method therapy, ran by Katharina's grandson. Since then, similar clinics appear in different parts of the world, including the United States (the Scoliosis Rehab Inc.)


My Personal Experience

I came across Schroth Method, while I was living in Germany. In one of my visits to the orthopedists there for my back pain, I was recommended to see a physiotherapist who was a licensed Schroth Method therapist. The training required blood, sweat, and tears...

After the first session, I came home (still) with my back pain and sore muscle! And that was all for the simple exercises of inhaling deeply, positioning my posture to minimize my apparent deformity - I was to hold two poles to help achieve the correct posture, and then to hold that position for 2 to 3 minutes. I had to repeat this set for four to five more repeats, before getting a relaxing massage at the end.

Two days thereafter: same exercise and a homework, that I got to do the exercise myself every day. We met again the next week after the initial therapy and did the same exercise, but with a twist. This time, we did muscle strengthening exercises, while holding the correct posture. Mind you, I went home that day with even more sore muscle, but amazingly enough, no back pain!

I went through this therapy for a good 2 months. Unfortunately, that was not enough to transform my curved spine- something I've always dream of - back to normal (see photo below). What I should have done is to spend two weeks or more in the clinic. But being a self-supporting student back then, my bank account wasn't exactly the kind that would support such a therapy...

Yet with the limited therapy that I did back then, I must say, it was worth the pain and ache. In comparison to the usual physiotherapy and muscle strengthening trainings, Schroth Method is most logical because it challenges my body to first be in the position that it should have been, before commencing any other muscle exercises or trainings. I would definitely recommend this training to anyone wishing to correct her or his spinal deformity.

Before, after 3 weeks, and after 8 weeks of intensive Schroth Method therapy

Courtesy of http://www.schrothmethod.com/
Courtesy of http://www.schrothmethod.com/

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    • Anne Burlinson profile imageAUTHOR

      Anne Burlinson 

      6 years ago from Australia

      Dear SiobhanC,

      I thank you for your comment and concern to others who are diagnosed with scoliosis. You are absolutely right that in no circumstances, a medical/health treatment should be pursued without the proper medical advise. It certainly is not my intention to influence, let alone, convert others to go with Schroth Method, as I wrote this post.

      This post is my sharing with the treatment, which was approved by my orthopedic surgeon - he even recommended it, and my intention is to let others know of that little hope that there are other non-invasive treatments of scoliosis.

      Once again, thank you for your comment and your understanding that ideas such the one posted here is an item to be discussed with a medical/health professional.

    • profile image

      SiobhanC 

      6 years ago

      With all due respect, there is utterly NO scientific value to this method and I urge any reader to verify with a health care professional, preferably an orthopedic surgeon. I am quite shocked to see this allowed on t5his site. While it refers to one type of scoliosis conveniently leaving out the more serious 40 plus degree curves that do tend to grow and cause serious medical trauma that require surgery and not even acknowledging that kyphosis, lordosis or scoliosis can be caused by a variety of causes with the congenital type the most difficult to treat. PLEASE see an accredited surgeon before taking any action re scoliosis. This is actually very dangerous!!!!!

    • Anne Burlinson profile imageAUTHOR

      Anne Burlinson 

      7 years ago from Australia

      Thanks DrStitzel for your comments. Much appreciated!

      I will consider writing a new piece about new scoliosis treatment, such as what the Clear Institute (http://www.clear-institute.org/) offers. This is, however, not the original purpose of what made me write this hub.

      Thanks again :)

    • DrStitzel profile image

      DrStitzel 

      7 years ago from Lititz, Pa

      Hi Anne,

      Very well written hub on Schroth, which seems to be a very good group over all, but here's the "rub" when it comes to Schroth....They are treating scoliosis like it's some kind of repetitive motion injury or something. Katarina Schroth herself is quote saying, "Scoliosis results from a multitude of wrong movements that finally result in a rigid posture. This is why the patient first of all need very careful observation to establish why, and to reverse them".

      Now, I am by no means "anti-Schroth", but it seems to me that it may need to updated to reflect the current trend of neuro-muscular based scoliosis rehab approaches.

    • Anne Burlinson profile imageAUTHOR

      Anne Burlinson 

      7 years ago from Australia

      Hi Lucy,

      Katharina Schroth's clinic is in Bad Sobernheim in Germany. They offer training, but I believe it is only tailored for practicing physiotherapist and or medical specialists. This is their site: http://www.asklepios.com. Mind you, the pages are in German...

    • profile image

      Lucy  

      7 years ago

      Wish to train as a practioner - where in UK / Europe can I train - does anyone know? Websites not coming up with information as yet.

    • profile image

      Beth 

      8 years ago

      I am 51 years old and have a 51 degree curve. I would very much like to do exercises to help my curve as I am only getting older and do not want to have surgery. I am worried about what is going to happen as my bones get older. I am in good shape now and am very flexible in my spine. Any suggestions?

    • profile image

      Denise 

      8 years ago

      There seems to be lots of evidence that Schroth can be very effective. But who is behind the spineharmony site above? Is this anonymous person prescribing exercises even a certified physical therapist? It looks suspicious.

    • profile image

      Marc 

      8 years ago

      our son has been doing an exercise program at http://www.spineharmony.com for a couple months now. pretty sure its schroth. we're very happy with it.

    • profile image

      Helen Smith 

      9 years ago

      In case you're not near a clinic (or can't afford it), I found SpineHarmony really helpful. They're at http://www.spineharmony.com and they also have some youtube videos eg http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DpWnr-fCifE

    • profile image

      jenny 

      9 years ago

      alright i am in the schroth method and i need to build the ladder racks we use. does anyone have the dimensions?

    • profile image

      Rob 

      9 years ago

      Learned something new today. Thanks for the new information!

    • Anne Burlinson profile imageAUTHOR

      Anne Burlinson 

      9 years ago from Australia

      Excellent! Thanks Heather for your info.

    • profile image

      Heather 

      9 years ago

      Hi - Thank you for sharing your personal experiences with the Schroth Method. Inyour posting, you mention one US-based clinic offering Schroth. Additional clinics have opened in recent years including Spinal Dynamics of Wisconsin. At our site, you'll find a link to a four-year case summary of a patient seen by physical therapists at this clinic. Not only did the girl's family avoid surgery, but she experienced a curve reduction. Visit: http://www.sdwpt.com/services/scoliosis.php

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