We at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic are huge advocates for scoliosis self-correction and treatment through exercise!
If you’re suffering because of your scoliosis, there are a lot of things you can do to relieve pain and prevent your spinal curve from worsening. One of these things is active self-correction (ASC), just one of the many treatment methods that make up our ScolioGold therapy programme.
Active self-correction is often referred to as the scientific exercise approach to scoliosis treatment. It involves a series of movements designed to stabilise the scoliosis curvature. Our ScolioGold therapists teach you how to actively self-correct by standing you in front of a mirror and showing you how you can physically unbend and de-rotate the curve in your spine.
As much as we’d love to teach you how to actively correct your scoliosis with a few simple instructions, every spine is unique, and each patient needs to be taught how to correct their own curvature. See one of our patients actively self-correcting their scoliosis curvature in this video:
You can see how this patient’s spine moves into a much better position with a few simple, conscious movements. These movements are often called:
Now that our patient knows how to get into this position, they will be able to actively correct their curvature over and over again, until it becomes a more natural sitting and standing position.
See more examples of scoliosis self-correction on our Instagram highlights:
- Activation – ‘unlocks’ the curvature from its resting position
- Correction – encourages the spine to sit in a more healthy position
- Repetition – ‘locks’ the straighter spine in place (this involves retraining the postural control centre in the brain to accept the ‘fixed’ position)
See Our Patients Performing ASC >
Part of active self-correction is developing a better awareness of your posture. We’ve written numerous blogs about the effects of bad posture on your spine, and unfortunately, people with and without scoliosis fall foul of poor posture all the time. Whether you work in an office, play a musical instrument or make frequent long journeys, you’re often susceptible to slouching and (potentially) damaging your spine.
Scoliosis self-correction teaches you to be continually aware of your posture, actively moving and straightening to create a straighter and stronger spine. There are a whole host of postural exercises that you can do to help improve your spinal position – of course, you’ll need to practice these exercises regularly if you want to see a significant improvement. Most posture-correcting exercises can be done at home and without any equipment!
Posture-Improving Exercises >
If you’re interested in finding out more about our exercise-based scoliosis therapy, don’t hesitate to get in touch. You can call us on 0207 488 4428 or submit an enquiry here.
Physiotherapeutic scoliosis-specific exercises (PSSEs) are an increasingly popular non-surgical method for treating scoliosis. PSSEs – so named to differentiate them from non-specific physiotherapy programmes – aim to provide a more functional approach to scoliosis management and improve the patient’s quality of life.
The Schroth method
The Schroth method is a particularly well-known type of non-surgical scoliosis treatment. Devised by a German woman named Katharina Schroth, it uses tailored exercises for each individual to help their curved spine return to a straighter, more natural position.
Schroth realised that 3D postural correction could only be achieved through a series of corrective exercises designed to support a corrected posture and alter the postural perception of the individual suffering from scoliosis. Focusing on a number of objectives – including de-rotating, elongating and stabilising the spine on a three-dimensional plane – Schroth exercises focus on restoring muscular symmetry and alignment of posture whilst teaching patients to be more aware of their posture on a day-to-day basis.
Learn more about the Schroth method >>
Physiotherapeutic scoliosis-specific exercises
Scoliosis is, of course, a very complex condition. From the rear, it looks like a sideways curve in either a ‘C’ or an ‘S’ shape. However, what you can’t see are the ways in which the vertebrae in the spine rotate as that curve develops. Spaces between the vertebrae may also become stretched in some areas and compressed in others. For this reason, scoliosis-specific physiotherapy requires a 3D approach to address the curve from all angles and directions.
The extent of the rotation in the spine differs widely from one case to the next; therefore, when treating scoliosis with PSSEs, the exercises need to be tailored to the unique condition of the patient’s spine. Exercises can be performed whilst sitting, laying down or standing up, with several props being used to assist such as gym balls and wall bars. Take a look at our video below to see some simple versions of these exercises in action!
These exercises help to promote:
- Muscular symmetry – The muscles in your back are affected by changes in the curvature of your spine. One side may see muscles weaken, whereas on the other side muscles may be overworked. Therapeutic exercises should seek to address both problems and achieve symmetry between the two sides.
- Rotational breathing – The Schroth method utilises a unique breathing technique known as ‘rotational breathing’, where the idea is to use breathing to assist in the de-rotation of the spine, thereby reshaping the rib cage and the surrounding soft tissue.
- Postural awareness – Being aware of the position of your spine is the first step towards correcting it. Postural awareness is particularly important when it comes to performing day-to-day activities.
Treating scoliosis with PSSEs
The Schroth method forms the foundation of the scoliosis treatment courses we provide here at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic. However, we understand that there are elements of postural correction that Schroth is unable to address on its own. Therefore, all of our treatment plans are enhanced and complemented by an assortment of other well-established physiotherapeutic techniques from all around the world, ensuring that all aspects of each patient’s condition can be addressed effectively.
The result is our internationally-renowned ScolioGold treatment method. Use the links below to view before/after photos or book your initial consultation with Scoliosis SOS.
Photos: Before & After Treatment > Book an Initial Consultation >
The history of scoliosis therapy can be traced all the way back to ancient Greece.
More specifically, scoliosis treatment has its roots in the 5th century BC and one man in particular: Greek physician Hippocrates (c. 460 – 370 BC).
Who was Hippocrates?
The mid-to-late 5th century BC was a turbulent time for the Hellenic people.
From 431 to 404 BC, the country was entrenched in a titanic war between the Delian League of Athens and the Peloponnesian League of Sparta. Meanwhile, Athens was also suffering from a devastating plague, which wreaked havoc in the city periodically between 430 and 426 BC.
In short, it was a dark time for Greece. But this was also the period that gave us Hippocrates, often referred to as the ‘father of medicine’.
Born on the island of Kos around 460 BC, Hippocrates was the son of a physician and is believed to have learned the trade from his father. Among his long list of medical achievements, Hippocrates is heralded as the first person to theorise that diseases and ailments were caused by environmental factors and not the result of superstition or an act of the gods.
He’s also the namesake of the ‘Hippocratic Oath’: the pledge taken by doctors declaring their moral and ethical obligations to their patients as medical practitioners.
Hippocrates and Scoliosis
Separating medicine from religion would probably have been enough on its own to secure Hippocrates’s place in history, but his achievements go far beyond that. Notably, he was also a key figure in the history of spinal treatment, and he is believed to have been the first physician to focus on the anatomy and pathology of the human spine.
Through his revolutionary study of the spinal structure and vertebrae, Hippocrates’s work led to the pioneering identification of many spine-related diseases – including scoliosis.
Hippocrates is commonly credited as the person who coined the term ‘scoliosis’ and the first to try treating this condition.
Hippocratic Scoliosis Treatment
From his unprecedented study of orthopaedics, Hippocrates created three pieces of equipment to treat spinal ailments: namely the Hippocratic ladder, the Hippocratic board, and the Hippocratic bench.
Intended to reduce spinal curvatures, the Hippocratic ladder treatment required the patient to be elevated and tied to the ladder upright or head down (depending on the where the curvature lay). The patient would then be shaken on the ladder, with the gravitational pull theoretically straightening the spine.
Similar to the ladder, treatment via the Hippocratic board involved the patient being tied to the board; however, this time, the patient was required to be prone, lying face down and flat. The physician would then apply pressure to the affected area of the spine using a hand, foot, or even the entire weight of the body.
Also known as the Hippocratic scamnum, the bench technique saw the patient lie face down on a bench similar to the board technique above. A smaller wooden board was then inserted into a pre-made hole in the wall, leaving the plank protruding out above the patient’s back. An assistant would then apply pressure on the end of the plank while the physician manoeuvred the board along the body.
Like many ancient treatments, these techniques naturally seem archaic, even barbaric by today’s standards. Nevertheless, these apparatuses – based on the principles of axial traction and three-point correction – were hugely innovative at the time, and they had a profound influence on the direction of spinal treatment to follow.
Luckily, medical science has come a long way since the days of Hippocrates, and there are now a variety of comfortable and safe non-surgical scoliosis treatments available. At Scoliosis SOS, our team of friendly, skilled therapists offer patients specialised scoliosis treatment that’s specifically designed to enhance your quality of life.
Our Treatment Method Contact Scoliosis SOS
Here at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic, we’ve been successfully treating scoliosis patients for well over a decade. Our comprehensive ScolioGold treatment programme combines a variety of well-known therapeutic techniques, and the exercises that we teach our patients allow them to manage their symptoms and prevent progression from the comfort of their own home.
One of the techniques we use to treat our patients is the Schroth method, in which our therapists our expertly trained.
What is the Schroth method?
The Schroth method is an exercise-based physiotherapy programme that is used to treat scoliosis without surgical intervention. This world-renowned treatment method has helped countless people to improve their posture and overcome the symptoms of scoliosis.
The Schroth method is named after Katharina Schroth, the German physiotherapist who devised it. Schroth herself had a curved spine, and after making great progress with her own condition, she decided to open up a clinic to treat other people with scoliosis.
Katharina Schroth passed away in 1985, but her daughter Christa Lehnert-Schroth continued her work and the Schroth method is now used as physical therapy for scoliosis patients all over the world.
How does the Schroth method help people with scoliosis?
The Schroth method uses stretches and exercises to develop the inner muscles of the rib cage in order to correct spinal abnormalities in all three planes of the body. This treatment method also places emphasis on the conscious correction of posture during day-to-day life.
The Schroth-based exercises that we use here at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic are customised to each patient’s unique spinal curvature, as well as their age and physical ability. Our use of the Schroth method has allowed 88% of our patients to avoid the need for spinal fusion surgery. We also:
If you seek these improvements for yourself or someone you love, consider receiving Schroth physical therapy as treatment for scoliosis.
- Use a specific rotational breathing technique to correct spinal rotation and increase the patient’s lung capacity
- Rebalance the patient’s spinal position using pelvic corrections and isometric contractions
- Make patients more aware of their posture on a daily basis, ensuring they have the correct equipment at home and at school/work to maintain their corrected position
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Examples of Schroth method exercises
Here are just a few of the stretches and exercises that make up the Schroth method:
1. Prone on stool
One of the core Schroth exercises, performed in a prone position facing towards the floor. Depending on the patient’s classification, condition, previous medical history and symptoms, this exercise has the potential to correct:
With a different setup, it can also be used to help thoracolumbar curves.
- A thoracic curve using shoulder traction, shoulder counter-traction and the de-rotation breathing technique
- A lumbar curve via activation of the iliopsoas muscle
This exercise requires quite a few pieces of equipment including tubes, stools, belts, straps, beanbags and wedges. Watch our patient Isobel perform this exercise during a check-up appointment at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic:
This primary Schroth exercise uses gravity to stretch out the spine and relieve pressure on vertebral joints. At the same time, the patient will be applying the rotational breathing technique to flatten the prominent areas of their back, activating their muscles on exhalation to train their body to remember the corrected position when they stop exercising.
This is often used as a preparation exercise at the beginning of a treatment session. A set of wall bars (or equivalent) is necessary to perform this exercise effectively.
Watch our patient Nicole, who travelled from Ghana to the UK for scoliosis treatment, practise this exercise with her therapist:
3. Iliopsoas on a ball
This is a very patient-specific Schroth exercise that is only suitable for someone with a lumbar or thoracolumbar curve. It works by utilising the activation of the iliopsoas muscle to help de-rotate the affected portion of the patient’s spine. This is one of the simpler Schroth method exercises, requiring only a gym ball and wall bars (or equivalent).
Here at the clinic, patients often receive assistance from the therapists using myofascial release techniques to ‘mobilise’ the spine and help the patient to achieve a straight posture in standing.
Watch our patient Molly from Suffolk perform this exercise:
The Schroth component of our ScolioGold therapy course places huge emphasis on conscious correction of posture throughout daily life, not just during exercise therapy. Education is paramount – throughout your 4-week course, our therapists will help you to learn about scoliosis and your body to ensure that you can recognise an abnormal posture and correct it accordingly.
More Scoliosis Exercises >
What is the Rigo-Schroth method?
The Rigo-Schroth method is a modification of the Schroth method. Devised in the 1980s by a Spanish practitioner named Dr Manuel Rigo, it is based on much the same regime of stretches as the Schroth method itself; however, the Rigo-Schroth method is structured differently, with significantly more emphasis on the role of the therapist.
Combining Schroth method exercises with other treatment techniques
Back when we first opened our clinic, our treatment courses were entirely based on the Schroth method. As years passed, however, we noticed that some aspects of scoliosis were not addressed by Schroth scoliosis treatment alone. So, to ensure that all aspects of each patient’s condition are fully treated, we’ve combined the Schroth and Rigo-Schroth methods with a number of other exercise-based / non-surgical treatment to help provide our patients with a fully comprehensive treatment package.
Our Treatment Methods >
This approach has yielded superb results: our treatment courses have proved capable of preventing progression, improving posture and cosmetic appearance, reducing pain, improving quality of life, and reducing the patient’s Cobb angle by up to 20 degrees.
To enrol on one of our Schroth-based scoliosis treatment courses, contact us online or give us a call on 0207 488 4428.