Originally, the Schroth method
was the primary form of physical therapy used to treat scoliosis here at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic. However, we soon realised that there were several disadvantages to relying on this method alone. While Schroth remains a core element of the treatment we provide, we have since combined it with a variety of other well-established, scientifically proven spinal techniques to create the ScolioGold method
, a far more comprehensive treatment programme that addresses all aspects of the patient's condition.
In order to explain the differences between these two approaches more clearly (particularly for those who are researching the benefits and limitations of non-surgical therapy), we have put together a useful guide which compares the Schroth method to our own ScolioGold therapy:
What is the Schroth method?
Developed by Katharina Schroth in 1921, the Schroth method is a conservative exercise therapy that takes a three-dimensional approach towards elongating the trunk and correcting imbalances of the spine. This therapy aims to develop the inner muscles of the rib cage in order to change the shape of the upper trunk and correct any spinal abnormalities in all three planes of the body: sagittal, frontal, and transverse. This means that correction needs to occur not only from side to side and front to back, but also longitudinally. The Schroth method also places emphasis on the conscious correction of posture during daily living, as well as during strenuous exercise periods.
Schroth’s technique involves an intensive course of inpatient physiotherapy, lasting 6-8 hours per day for 4-6 weeks. Following the inpatient treatment, it is recommended that the patient maintains an at-home follow-up routine consisting of 3-4 exercises for 30 minutes each day; this helps to maintain the improved postural balance gained during therapy.
A Schroth treatment programme includes the correction of the scoliotic posture and breathing pattern with the assistance of proprioceptive and exteroceptive stimulation and mirror control. Using sensorimotor feedback mechanisms, the patients learn an individual correction routine and corrected breathing pattern, providing them with the tools to maintain the results of their therapy. There is no formal follow-up or aftercare, which means that the treatment relies solely upon the patient once their course is completed.
The ScolioGold Method
The ScolioGold Method was developed by the Scoliosis SOS team in 2006, replacing the Schroth method as the primary form of treatment delivered here at our clinic. The principal components of ScolioGold therapy include:
- Katharina Schroth & Rigo-Schroth methods
- Functional Independent Treatment for Scoliosis (FITS method)
- Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF method)
- Scientific Exercise Approach to Scoliosis (SEAS method)
- Orthopaedic Medicine
Our treatment courses also incorporate several common manual physiotherapy techniques, such as:
- Myofascial release
- Trigger point therapy
Treatment is further facilitated and accompanied by other techniques such as acupuncture
and dry needling
ScolioGold therapy is tailored to suit the specific concerns and demands of our patients, and involves ergonomic assessments, pedoscans, and insole fitting to optimise posture and back health. The ScolioGold programme is also continually monitored and developed according to the latest scoliosis research, ensuring that we always provide the best possible care for patients. Treatment can be carried out in an intensive group setting of 1, 2 or 4-week courses; alternatively, many patients elect to receive treatment through individual 1:1 outpatient-style appointments of between 1 and 3 hours per visit. There is no limit to the number of therapy sessions you can attend, and a long-term treatment plan is provided in order to continually care for our patients.
The aim of the ScolioGold Method is to enable patients to maintain a more central posture during everyday activities, and is based upon 5 core principles:
- Body and Postural Awareness – Improving the patient's understanding of their condition, anatomy and physiology, as well as representing their specific classification using the system of blocks.
- Axial Elongation – Stretching of the spine to open up areas of collapse and to better align the trunk whilst activating the muscles to address muscular imbalance.
- De-Rotation – Corrections of asymmetries in the transverse plane, using passive corrections (beanbags and wedges) to de-rotate the thorax assisted by rotational breathing.
- De-Flexion – Corrections in the frontal plane addressing coronal imbalance, pelvic torsion, rotation and shoulder positioning.
- Isometric Contraction – Prolonged muscle contraction to re-enforce corrections.