We at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic are all about helping our patients to manage their scoliosis independently. When you attend one of our treatment courses, our therapists will teach you a range of corrective and strengthening exercises to combat your spinal curvature; you will then need to continue performing these exercises at home in order to keep your scoliosis under control.

Many of the exercises we recommend require particular pieces of equipment. These are, for the most part, relatively common, and may even be things that you already own. Read on to find out what you'll need to keep up your scoliosis exercises once you've left the clinic.

Please note: all exercise equipment can be purchased from the Scoliosis SOS Clinic directly. Please don't stop or avoid doing your scoliosis exercises if you can't find the equipment you need in shops.

 

Poles for scoliosis exercises

Poles and Chin-Up Bars

One of the main ways we are able to control our patients' elongation during treatment is by using poles and wall bars. They help to straighten the spine while giving the patient something to hold on to for guidance and stability. We recommend that our patients use a chin-up bar in place of wall bars and, because many chin-up bars are portable and relatively inexpensive, this can be a great investment for patients who are going on holiday.

 

Plastic tubes and wooden blocks

Wooden Blocks and Plastic Tubes

You will become very familiar with these plastic pipes and wooden blocks by the end of your ScolioGold course. Our physiotherapists use the blocks to correctly position you during exercises, and they use the pipes to help you stretch and elongate when prone.

Having these pieces of equipment at home will help you achieve the same results, although you may need to ask a friend or partner for some assistance.

 

Strap and belt exercises

Strap and Belt

These are definitely among the more unusual pieces of equipment that we use in our scoliosis exercise routines. The strap and belt are secured to the wall bars, and they help our physiotherapists to stabilise the patient's pelvis during different exercises.

This is a great piece of equipment for you to purchase if pelvis alignment is one of your key treatment goals.

 

Beanbags, wedges and resistance bands

Wedges, Beanbags and Resistance Bands

Besides being nice and comfortable, these beanbags and wedges help to de-align and rotate your spine. They will also come in very handy while you complete other exercises that require different parts of your body to be supported while you exercise.

We also recommend that you purchase a variety of resistance bands. These will help you to build up the strength of your muscles during FITS, PNF and stabilisation techniques.

 

Exercise mats and stability ball

Exercise Mats and Stability Balls

Suitable for most forms of floor-based exercise, an exercise mat can cushion you against hard and cold floor surfaces. If you plan to exercise on wood flooring (or even outside on the patio), investing in an exercise mat is a great idea!

The stability ball is a piece of equipment that we incorporate into many of our scoliosis exercises. It's an incredibly versatile apparatus that can help you to build strength and improve your balance. If you don't already have one at home, we recommend purchasing one - they're great fun and very useful!

 

Plastic stool and trigger point balls

Plastic Stools and Trigger Point Balls

Lightweight plastic stools are perfect for positioning yourself during exercises. We're sure you already have something like this at home, but if not, now might be the time to purchase some.

The colourful, spikey balls you see above are trigger point balls. They provide proprioceptive feedback and muscle stimulation.

 

Foam roller and stability disk in use

Foam Rollers and Stability Disks

Foam rollers (like the blue one pictured above) are specifically for hyperkyphosis patients. They help patients to work the deep tissue around the spine, and can also be used to relieve muscular aches and pains.

Stability disks are used by patients who have completed more advanced exercises during their treatment. By balancing on the stability disk while holding corrective poses, patients are able to improve their balance and strength.

Remember that you can purchase all of this scoliosis exercise equipment directly from the Scoliosis SOS Clinic, so don't worry if you're struggling to find something that you've enjoyed using during your treatment.

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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.

Scoliosis PSSE Treatment

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 >

Teenager Scoliosis X-Ray

For many teenagers with scoliosis, treatment options are limited and uniformly unappealing. Bracing, for instance, may help to control the condition, but scoliosis braces can be uncomfortable and they don't actually reverse the spine's curvature (they're designed to prevent it from getting worse).

And then there's spinal fusion surgery, which tends to be the recommended treatment for severe cases of scoliosis. Surgery can be an incredibly daunting prospect, especially for a teenager, so it's no wonder so many young scoliosis patients come to the Scoliosis SOS Clinic in search of an alternative treatment option.

Case Study: Molly, 16 Years Old

Molly came to our clinic because, like a lot of teenagers with scoliosis, she wanted to avoid having to undergo surgery except as a last resort. Molly was diagnosed with scoliosis when she was 15 years old, and she came across Scoliosis SOS while looking online for alternative treatment methods (since her curved spine was causing her pain and she didn't like the way it made her look).

Our ScolioGold treatment programme proved to be the ideal solution for Molly because it gave her the tools to improve her own condition through a set of carefully-chosen corrective exercises. The ScolioGold method combines a variety of non-invasive techniques that gradually restore the back's muscle balance and reverse the curvature of the spine. Learning and practising these exercises in a controlled environment with our expert physiotherapists gives teenage patients the knowledge and skills they need to continue improving their condition long after they have left our clinic.

If you want to hear more about Molly's scoliosis experience, you can watch our interview with her here:

Would you like to find out more about our scoliosis treatment courses? Get in touch with Scoliosis SOS today to arrange an initial consultation.

Katharina Schroth Treatment

Though our ScolioGold programme is made up of many different scoliosis treatment techniques from around the world, the Schroth method is still at the core of the therapy we provide here at Scoliosis SOS.

The Schroth method was developed in the early 20th century by Katharina Schroth, and today - 22 February 2019 - would have been her 125th birthday! To mark the occasion, we'd like to tell you a little bit more about Katharina Schroth and the treatment method to which she gave her name.

Who was Katharina Schroth?

Katharina Schroth was born on 22 February 1894 in Dresden, Germany. Though she initially worked as a teacher in a business school, she made the jump to physiotherapy when she decided to try and treat her own scoliosis.

She developed the Schroth method over the years that followed, and she eventually opened a clinic so that other people with scoliosis could benefit from her exercise-based treatment regimen.

In 1969, Schroth was awarded the Federal Cross of Merit for her work. In the 1970s, she handed the clinic over to her daughter, Christa Lehnert-Schroth, who continued to develop the Schroth method after her mother had retired from treatment.

How does the Schroth method work?

The Schroth method uses a variety of exercises and stretches to work the muscles around the rib cage and in the upper trunk to help correct the spinal abnormalities caused by scoliosis.

  • Using exercises, it restores muscular symmetry where there is a muscular imbalance around the scoliosis curve.
  • It also teaches rotational angular breathing techniques, which contribute to the reshaping of the ribcage and surrounding soft tissue.
  • Finally, it encourages patients to be aware of their posture as they go about their everyday lives, preventing them from sitting or standing in a way that will cause their scoliosis to become worse.

Here at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic, we combine the Schroth method with a range of other non-invasive, exercise-based treatments to deliver outstanding results for people with scoliosis and other spinal conditions. See our results here.

Thanks in part to Katharina Schroth's life's work, we are able to offer scoliosis patients a real alternative to surgery and help them to dramatically improve their quality of life. So happy birthday, Katharina!

Our Treatment Methods >   Book a Consultation >

Schroth Method Treatment for Scoliosis

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 to treat 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.

Schroth Method Exercises

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:

  • 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:

  • A thoracic curve using shoulder traction, shoulder counter-traction and the de-rotation breathing technique
  • A lumbar curve via activation of the iliopsoas muscle

With a different setup, it can also be used to help thoracolumbar curves.

Prone on Stool Exercise

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:

 

2. Semi-hanging

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.

Semi-Hanging Schroth Exercise

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).

Iliopsoas Ball Exercise

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, but over the years, we noticed that some aspects of scoliosis were not addressed through use of the Schroth method 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.

 

Further reading