Schroth Method for Scoliosis

OHSU’s Rehabilitation Services offers you one of Oregon’s only physical therapists certified in the Schroth Method. This innovative type of physical therapy treats scoliosis (curved spine). This non-invasive therapy:

  • Uses exercises and breathing to keep your spinal curve from getting worse.
  • Improves strength, posture, movement and lung function.
  • Lessens pain.
  • Can decrease the chances of needing surgery.
  • Gives you an active role in your care.

What is the Schroth Method?

The Schroth Method uses exercises and breathing techniques to treat scoliosis, a condition in which the spine curves sideways, usually in an S or C shape.

Custom program: Everyone’s spinal curve is different. In Schroth therapy, your exercises are tailored to your unique curve and body.

3D approach: Exercises take into account the spiraling effect of scoliosis on your vertebrae (spinal bones) and muscles. Your therapist will use a three-dimensional method to treat your whole spine and the muscles around it.

Ages: Schroth therapy can be used to treat adults and children, starting at about age 10 . In adolescents, it is used alongside bracing.

Effectiveness

Studies show clear patterns of improvement in spinal curve, pain, self-image and other factors. A 2018 meta-analysis (a study that looks at the findings of many earlier studies) concluded that Schroth therapy should be recommended.

History

The Schroth Method is named for Katharina Schroth of Germany, who developed exercises in the 1920s to treat her own scoliosis. Her daughter, physical therapist Christa Lehnert-Schroth, refined the exercises. Schroth therapy is standard practice in parts of Europe and has been gaining a foothold in the U.S. for 20 years.

How Schroth therapy helps

The exercises and breathing techniques work on:

  • Muscle symmetry: A curved spine can lead to overworked muscles on one side and weak muscles on the other. Exercises can restore symmetry to better support proper spine alignment.
  • Posture: Schroth therapy makes proper posture part of your daily life.
  • Breathing: Schroth therapy uses a technique called rotational angular breathing to gently push against the spine’s rotation.

Together, these techniques can:

  • Stabilize your spinal curve
  • Help you stand straighter
  • Improve your strength
  • Help you move better
  • Reduce pain
  • Let you breathe deeper

How Schroth therapy works

First appointment: Our specially trained physical therapist does a one-on-one evaluation with you. The therapist teaches you stretching, strengthening and breathing exercises.

  • Most exercises focus on muscles in your back and ribs.
  • Different exercises are done standing, sitting or lying down.
  • The exercises use props, such as a therapy ball, that can be helpful to have for home use.
  • You are guided in being aware of your posture.

At home: You do the exercises five days a week in sessions of about 30 to 40 minutes. You play an active role in improving your body and quality of life. You also work on posture awareness in daily life. The program should be considered a lifelong commitment.

Follow-up care: You have appointments to chart your progress and to make any needed adjustments.

Learn more

For patients

Call 503-494-3151 to:

  • Request an appointment. You will need a doctor’s referral.
  • Ask questions.

Location

Center for Health & Healing Building 1, first floor
3303 S.W. Bond Ave.
Portland, OR 97239
Map and directions

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