The Schroth Method is a specific mode of postural correction exercises, focused on the principles of postural correction, elongation, asymmetrical straightening and breathing techniques, in order to help teach an individual to achieve and maintain a more neutral and upright posture. It is specifically used to address back and neck pain for non-operative, pre-operative and post-operative patients of all ages.
The prescribed exercise program is designed based on an analysis of x-rays, coupled with a thorough clinical evaluation, in order to sub classify the scoliotic curvature for most appropriate treatment. The method is very specialized and personalized and requires a certified specialist to provide. It involves a lot of visual and tactile cueing and corrections to provide corrective feedback for patients to improve posture and reduce curvature, often through the use of a Stall Bar, also known as a Swedish Ladder.
Common diagnoses this method is used for include Scoliosis, Kyphosis, as well as pre- and post-operative spinal surgeries.
Scoliosis is a three-dimensional curvature in the spine which is most commonly present in adolescents, seven times more likely in females than males, and it is idiopathic in origin. That means that there is no one specific causative factor, although there are many predisposing factors.
There is a risk of progression of the scoliotic curvature which exists most during rapid periods of growth for adolescents. Scoliosis can also be apparent in the aging population as there are symmetrical degenerations of the spine leading to progression from chronic loading of the spine over time.
Integration with Pilates
The principles of the Schroth Method and Scoliosis-specific exercises couple very well with the principles of Pilates. Through the Schroth Method, a person will learn how to address asymmetries in their posture, correct them and maintain body positions and control movement patterns. Pilates emphasizes these same principles — and takes it one step further by challenging strength/endurance while maintaining and improving postural control.
Typically, it takes about 8–10 sessions for an individual to feel confident and independent with a home program without the hands on cuing from a therapist.
X-rays are not necessary, though helpful. With an x-ray, the specificity of treatment to your curve type will increase, but you can still begin a Schroth-based program without them.
Typically, a course of Schroth consists of a period of weeks with consistency and guidance from a therapist, to the point the patient is independent with a home exercise program. Following this time, the frequency of physical therapy is decreased for regular check ins, and progressions of exercises to continue to challenge posture and build strength. Additionally, the physical therapist may recommend the client to take up Pilates for continued management and improvement.