We have been involved in Schroth exercise for adolescent idiopathic scoliosis since 2002. The following post summarizes an important study on Schroth exercise that was published a few years back. 

This valuable study, entitled, ‘The efficacy of Schroth’s 3-dimensional exercise therapy in the treatment of adolescent idiopathic scoliosis in Turkey’ is authored by Saadet Otman, PT, PhD, Nasire Kose, PT, PhD, and Tavuz Yakut, PT, PhD. It highlights the results from a Schroth outpatient rehabilitation program for adolescents in Turkey conducted to determine the effectiveness of Schroth exercise for adolescent idiopathic scoliosis.

The study participants used Schroth exercise, exclusively –no participant used a scoliosis brace.  Instruction took place at a physical therapy and rehabilitation school from 1999 – 2004. 

Participants learned Schroth exercise and participated in the outpatient program for 5 days/week for 4 hours/day for 6 weeks. After the initial 6 weeks, participants were instructed to practice their individual Schroth exercise routine at home. The study began with 68 patients and ended with 50.

Schroth exercise is based on three-dimensional principles incorporating proprietary techniques prescribed specifically for each individual’s scoliosis curve pattern. The program described is comparable to the outpatient program we use here at Scoliosis 3DC for adolescent idiopathic scoliosis.

Results from the study showed patients experienced a decrease in Cobb angles after the initial six weeks of scoliosis exercise, from an average of 26º to 23º, then a reduction to 19º after 6 months and 18º after one year. Vital capacities increased on average by 15%.

schroth exercise for scoliosis
Schroth exercise for scoliosis. Photo is from “The Influence of Short-Term Scoliosis-Specific Exercise Rehabilitation on Pulmonary Function in Patients with AIS”

Although our methods most likely vary slightly from the Turkish program (our program is a one week intensive and we include postural modification training in addition to Schroth exercise), we have since published a paper which documents our patients vital capacity change in just one week of Schroth method outpatient training. Link here to our paper to see those results: The Influence of Short-Term Scoliosis-Specific Exercise Rehabilitation on Pulmonary Function in Patients with AIS.

The Turkish study tested strength in the muscles to the right and left of the spine as well as the back extensor and anterior trunk flexor muscles. All muscle groups experienced increased strength. Postural defects improved as well. 

Due to the brief nature of our study, we didn’t monitor the Cobb angle change. In the Turkish study, however, with six weeks of intensive outpatient care, the Cobb angle remained stable in just one patient. All others experienced improvement and none got worse. After one year, all patients experienced improvement to some degree. Regarding Schroth exercise, the article concludes, “clearly, this program is useful in AIS patients if they are compliant.” Overall,  “Schroth’s technique positively influenced Cobb angle, vital capacity, strength and postural defects in outpatient adolescents.”

In addition, if you are interested in reading about one individual’s experience (in detail) we published a case study on one of our 15-year-old scoliosis patients who, at a Risser 4, reduced her spinal curvature through scoliosis exercise alone. To read that paper, link here.

To learn more about our comprehensive Schroth scoliosis exercise program, please call us for more information. We customize Schroth immersion (the way it’s taught in Germany) for you or your child. Our patients learn the Schroth method on a one-to-one basis over the course of a few days then return home to practice their Schroth exercises at home. The result is patient empowerment over scoliosis!  

Updated, March 13, 2019.

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