WHAT IS SCHROTH?
The Schroth Method is a non-surgical treatment for idiopathic scoliosis which uses exercises that are designed to help straighten and elongate the spine, while at the same time correcting the rotation of the rib cage. There is a wide array of poses, positions, and exercises available with the Schroth Method, but the particular exercises utilized are individualized to each patient’s curve pattern.
A breathing technique known as “rotational breathing” is an important component of Schroth, since it is used to help “de-rotate” the spine. During each exercise, the right and left side of the rib cage are differentially expanded or tightened which results in a pull of the muscles surrounding the spine. In holding a position or posture with the spine corrected to its straightened form, the patient learns to strengthen the muscles adjacent to the spine and acquires the ability to maintain the elongated posture even after he or she has stopped the exercise. The goal of The Schroth Method is to de-flex and de-rotate the torso to halt or reduce curve progression, resulting in a more ‘normal’ alignment of the spine and appearance of the upper body.
The Schroth exercises, when performed consistently, improve both posture and trunk rotation, strengthen the muscles surrounding the spine, and allow for better functioning of the lungs. After just a few months of treatment, I experienced elimination of my back pain, and I noticed a better balance of my upper body.
- De-rotation of the rib cage
- Reduction or elimination of back pain
- Improved posture
- Prevention of curve progression (stabilize the curve)
Interview with Shannon Stone Cribby
Shannon Stone Cribby is a certified physical therapist who specializes in the Schroth Method treatment of scoliosis. She spent several hours with me, correcting my posture and helping me to solidify the Schroth exercises so that I was able to practice them on my own at home. I don’t know where I would be without her help!
SCHROTH CORRECTIVE BREATHING
In the practice of Schroth, patients first assume their corrected postures in which the lumbar and thoracic spine are positioned in alignment. This will result in a balance of the shoulders, and a de-rotation of the rib cage. Furthermore, small details such as the position of one’s arms will affect the extent at which the muscles are pulled, and thus the outcome of the correction of the spine will be influenced as well.
For individuals with scoliosis, there is an imbalance of the muscles attached to the spine on opposite sides. Patients performing the Schroth exercises are taught to breathe into the concave side of the trunk, thus shortening the muscles on the convex side of the spine and lengthening the muscles on the concave side of the spine. This is known as the ‘inhalation’ phase of the Schroth breathing. Patients then learn the ‘exhalation’ phase of Schroth which is described to restore a more balanced alignment of the spine. Known as “stabilization”, this aspect of the Schroth exercise allows the patient to achieve an improved spinal posture and recognize how to maintain it during daily activity.
THE SPECIFICITY OF SCHROTH
The Schroth exercises recommended by the therapist will largely depend on which part of the spine need to be straightened, the severity of the patient’s curve, and the amount of rotation that is present in the rib cage. The Schroth therapist modifies the treatment after examining the type of scoliosis of each individual patient, which ensures a precise correction of the spine that is specific to that patient.
FORWARD BAR EXERCISE
This type of Schroth exercise highlights the importance of rotational breathing. For me, it was important to pull in my front left rib cage and fill my back right rib cage with air when I breathed.
USING THE SCHROTH BAR
The Schroth Bar is an important piece of equipment that helps with the Schroth exercises. It allows the patient to stretch their back, elongating their spine.
LAYING ON SIDE
This type of Schroth exercise incorporates a shoulder exercise while holding the position. It helps an individual to actively straighten their spine while at the same time, focusing on using the band in various ways.
HOLDING CORRECTIONS WHILE DOING EXERCISES
This type of Schroth exercise uses a band and the Schroth Bar to help strengthen the shoulder muscles while simultaneously strengthening one’s upper back muscles.
RIGHT ARM EXTEND
The Right Arm Extend exercise is used to help a patient maintain his or her corrections while simultaneously performing various exercises to help with strength training.
SINGLE ARM BAR HANG
The Single Arm Bar Hang is a type of Schroth exercise similar to full hang which allows the spine to straighten completely.
Here are some pieces of equipment to help you with Schroth! You can buy the Schroth Bar at https://infitnessequipment.com/