E.G. is a 47-year-old female with a scoliosis diagnosed in adolescence. She was x-rayed on June 8, 2012 at 9:21 AM. E. decided she wanted to find a way to manage scoliosis proactively. She found our website and called.
E.’s initial evaluation was in August, 2012. She began Schroth Method instruction last September coming sporadically throughout the winter. She concluded thirteen program hours prior to her follow-up x-ray. E.’s supportive husband accompanied her to each session. She reported compliance incorporating Schroth activities of daily living (ADLs), and practiced Physiologic™, 3-D Made Easy™, and Schroth exercises for her specific curve pattern, four times weekly. E. is a busy business woman with children and travels frequently.
E. had another set of x-rays at the Boston hospital where she has scoliosis x-rays taken annually. The image on the right was taken one year after the image on the left on June 14, 2013 at 9:40am, the same hour of the morning as the x-ray taken the year before. I mention time of day due to the study which notes diurnal variation as a reason for discrepancies in scoliosis x-ray readings (note – that study measured adolescent x-rays) according to Beauchamp et al1.
E.’s before Schroth June, 2012 x-rays (left) indicated a 55º lumbar Cobb angle (measured at 60º at the hospital, but my initial measurement was 55º) and a thoracic spinal curvature of 44°. E.’s after Schroth June, 2013 x-ray (right) measured 43º lumbar and 39º thoracic. E. reported her doctor’s reaction as “shocked.” She said he admitted had never seen anything like her result before. She told me he remeasured the x-ray repeatedly and had other physicians confirm the Cobb angle measurements. The measurements reported here are mine since she did not provide the report, just the images on disc. E.’s doctor asked what she had done differently in the past year. She told him she had learned and practiced the Schroth method and also incorporated what she learned during her daily routine. He wrote it down since he had never heard of the Schroth Method.
E.’s 12º decrease in lumbar curvature is considered a reduction. Her 5º reduction in the thoracic spine is technically unchanged since it is within the 5º margin of error noted when comparing scoliosis Cobb angle measurements. However, her thoracic spine is going in the right direction and with continued work she could potentially reduce her thoracic curve even more now that we seen what she has accomplished with her lumbar spine.
An adult has now accomplished, without question, what the scoliosis community has been told is unattainable. E. can get in line with our good friend, Martha Hawes, PhD., author of “Scoliosis and the Human Spine.” Read Martha’s account of her story in the article, Reversal of childhood idiopathic scoliosis in an adult, without surgery: a case report and literature review2.
E.’s case is promising. She is one of only two adults I have instructed who have chosen to be re-xrayed. Another adult patient with idiopathic scoliosis was re-xrayed a couple of years ago and reported a 6º reduction but didn’t send x-ray images. Reporting results for adults has been a challenge in terms of comparing Cobb angles. However, I find adults who come to learn Schroth have reasonable expectations. Most focus on trying to reduce or eliminate pain, halt progression, improve postural appearance, breathe easier, or a combination of those factors and others which are bothersome. Most adults are pleased when they experience improvement of quality of life and they realize they are finally on the right track after years of frustration. The need for additional x-rays doesn’t seem necessary to many which I understand. So, many thanks to E. for tracking her spine and letting us share her x-ray results. They are very encouraging for everyone with idiopathic scoliosis – adolescent or adult. People want to know does the Schroth Method work? Absolutely.
1 Beauchamp, Marc MD; Labelle, Hubert MD; Grimard, Guy MD; Stanciu, Constantin MD; Poitras, Benoit MD; Dansereau, Jean PhD 1993 Spine 18: 1581-1583. Diurnal Variation of Cobb Angle Measurement in Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis