Treating Pediatric Scoliosis with Schroth Based Physical Therapy


Scoliosis, also known as an abnormal curvature of the spine, is a common condition that occurs in children, usually first noticed around age 10. It can sometimes be difficult to determine the cause of scoliosis; however, rare forms have been linked to previous injuries, muscle dystrophy, and cerebral palsy. 

Fortunately, Schroth based physical therapy can help treat scoliosis so it does not become disabling – and in many cases, patients may not even notice it anymore. Schroth physical therapy is beneficial for all types of curves in children and adults. 

How do I know if my child has scoliosis?

In general, a lack of alignment in the upper body may indicate that a child has scoliosis. Specifically, if one hip and/or shoulder looks higher than the other, or if one shoulder blade seems to be more easily discernible than the other, scoliosis may be the culprit. Patients may also notice their hips are displaced to one side. 

In more advanced cases, back pain, a pronounced curve in the spine, or ribs that stick out noticeably on one side, can be an indicator that your child has developed scoliosis. Difficulty breathing can also be a symptom of scoliosis, as the ribs can press against one or both lungs. 

How is scoliosis treated? 

Children with moderate and severe cases of scoliosis will probably need more intervention than physical therapy alone. At ProTouch Physical Therapy, a common form of treatment we use is the Schroth Method. The Schroth Method is a set of specialized exercises that focus on posture 3-dimensionally and is scoliosis specific.  Because scoliosis is a spinal deformity, treatment with a 3-dimensional approach is important. The Schroth method may also be used in tandem with bracing for moderate scoliosis, and it can help your child avoid the need for invasive surgery. In fact, established Doctor Stuart L. Weinstein states, in regards to a 2013 scoliosis study published by the New England Journal of Medicine, 

“Now we can say with confidence that BRACING PREVENTS THE NEED FOR SURGERY.” 

A severe case, or one which is treated after most of the child’s growth has occurred, may call for surgery. However, our goal is to treat the condition before it gets to that point. 

In mild cases, physical therapy scoliosis exercise (PSSE) is generally enough to treat the condition. These targeted exercises help in preventing curve progression and improving the child’s overall quality of life. The technique uses breathing and muscle contraction techniques to derotate the spine to restore proper alignment. Physical therapy scoliosis exercise can also help augment the more aggressive treatments for moderate and severe cases of scoliosis, including kyphosis. 

How can I get my child started with treatments? 

If your child is living with scoliosis, or you are suspicious of it, don’t hesitate to contact our office today. At the initial appointment, a comprehensive exam will be conducted to determine the diagnosis of the condition and determine the best possible course of treatment for your child. 

At ProTouch Physical Therapy, our dedicated physical therapists can help your child retrain his or her body to function more effectively with the particular alignment issues at hand. Schroth physical therapy for scoliosis will also help to increase range of motion, in addition to building core strength in the parts of the body that may have been weakened through misalignment. 

Additional modalities can also help relieve any pain your child may be experiencing from stiff muscles or joints caused by scoliosis. Through one on one manual therapy, your child’s physical therapist can ease tension, while redirecting movement. Ice and heat applications (and in some circumstances, electrical stimulation) can also be beneficial for back pain and stiffness issues. 

Is your child living with scoliosis? ProTouch Physical Therapy can help. Contact our Cranford, NJ office today to schedule your consultation and get started on the first steps to improving life in 3 dimensions using the Schroth Scoliosis Treatments.