How Schroth Therapists Globally Vary their Implementation of Schroth Therapy in Treating Adolescents with Idiopathic Scoliosis

Schroth is a type of physiotherapeutic scoliosis specific exercise (PSSE) prescribed to adolescents with idiopathic scoliosis (AIS). Until recently, no research had been done to explore the actual implementation of Schroth world-wide for AIS. Recently ScoliCare’s Head of Education Rose Marchese published a mixed methods study in The Journal of Clinical Medicine to explore Schroth implementation for AIS worldwide. The paper can be downloaded from here.

Is Schroth Effective in Treating Adolescents with Idiopathic Scoliosis?

The actual Schroth methods have been investigated for their efficacy, but have yet to investigate how Schroth is applied clinically and the factors that may influence the prescription.

What the Research Currently shows.

A mixed methods study which included an anonymous survey and semi-structured interviews of Schroth therapists publicly listed on the Barcelona Scoliosis Physical Therapy School or the International Schroth 3-dimensional Scoliosis Therapy School websites, was conducted.

Results from the 173 survey respondents showed that 52% of participants used other types of PSSE as an adjunct to Schroth, with the most frequent of these being the Scientific Exercise Approach to Scoliosis (SEAS). Non-PSSE methods were used ‘at some point’ as an adjunct by 98.8% of participants, including massage and other soft tissue techniques (80.9%), Pilates (46.6%), and Yoga (31.5%) .The Schroth techniques used by all survey respondents included breathing and pelvic corrections.

What are the Factors Currently Influencing Schroth Prescription?

The common themes that emerged as to what factors influenced the prescription of Schroth included:

  •  the adolescent as a whole, including physical, emotional and mental characteristics, and patient goals, 
  • family, including parent relationship with the adolescent and the motivation of parents in regard to Schroth, 
  • the systems within which the treatment was being offered, such as vicinity to the clinic and the presence of financial insurance support, and 
  • therapist characteristics, such as their training and experience.

Schroth is used worldwide as a PSSE to treat adolescents with idiopathic scoliosis. However, therapists prescribing Schroth exercises to AIS consider the complex interplay of intra-, inter- and extra-personal factors in clinical practice. These considerations move beyond the three components of evidence-based practice of research, patient preferences, and clinical expertise, towards a systems-based reflection on exercise prescription.

Visit to read the full research.

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