Our letter to the editor of the Philadelphia Inquirer regarding their recent article on the Schroth Method:
It is great to see the Schroth Method getting media attention. As a parent who traveled to Germany in 2002 to learn Schroth to help my own child and as a dedicated Schroth method practitioner, my focus at my practice near Boston, for years, has always been to promote its benefits. While it was disappointing to be overlooked in your article, the bigger picture for patients and their parents, which your article did not convey, is that Schroth methodology has advanced in recent years.
As the first U.S. physician trained in Germany (I am a DC), I have had the privilege of being on the ground floor of the development of Schroth Best Practice® as a result of my long-term affiliation with Dr. Hans-Rudolf Weiss, grandson of Katharina Schroth and son of Christa Lehnert-Schroth, PT. Weiss is a prolific author, innovator in the conservative treatment of scoliosis and developer of the Schroth compatible Cheneau-Gensingen Brace. Dr. Weiss, his mother and I recently collaborated on an updated and expanded text – Schroth Therapy: Advancements in Conservative Scoliosis Treatment.
In the early 2000s, Dr. Weiss recognized the need to evolve the method of his mother and grandmother to be more patient-friendly for improved compliance for better outcomes. As a result of his years of administering conservative care for patients, he recognized the need for program modifications, partially because Schroth was originally created to treat very severe curvatures.
The Barcelona school discussed in the article and Schroth Best Practice® differ in that the latter has been designed to be simpler and easier for patients to learn. It is more adaptable to everyday situations (fewer props for self-correction —anywhere) and offers the opportunity for condensed training. In my experience with both ‘original Schroth’ and the newest treatment methodology, training patients over a period of months is not nearly as effective as when learning occurs over a shorter time frame (an intensive five to six days), or over a few weeks, at most. The method has been taught this way in Germany since its inception and it is a key component of its success.
The article also raises the point that it is impractical and costly to brace scoliosis patients with curves of only 20º, but fails to offer specific guidelines for proactive treatment. As an alternative to ‘watch and wait,’ Schroth Best Practice® offers early, simple interventions for mild curves (24º or less) is well as more intensive instruction for those with moderate and severe curves. My clinical experience has shown that when mild curves are treated proactively via Schroth, it nearly always eliminates the need for a brace. There must be a paradigm shift in the treatment of scoliosis.
Marc Moramarco, DC