About 2-3% of the population combats scoliosis every day. New techniques and treatments are in development, but physiotherapy for scoliosis remains one of the stronger treatment options for those looking to alleviate their scoliosis symptoms.
But before we dive into the physiotherapy exercises for scoliosis, let’s first define it.
What Is Scoliosis?
Scoliosis is an abnormal curvature of the spine. Whereas the spine normally curves at the cervical, thoracic and lumbar regions in the so-called ‘sagittal’ plane, scoliosis is typically defined as spinal curvature in the frontal, or ‘coronal’, plane. Measurements (also referred to as the Cobb angle) are usually taken at the coronal plane, but scoliosis can also affect the:
- Coronal plane
- Sagittal plane
- Axial plane
A naturally curving spine positions the head over the pelvis, helping to absorb shock when moving. Scoliosis, by contrast, involves an exaggerated spinal curve forming an atypical ‘S’ or ‘C’ shape in the spine. As a result, it can be difficult for people with scoliosis to obtain a ‘good’ posture, alongside a host of other challenges.
While typically diagnosed in childhood or early adolescence, there are cases of congenital scoliosis (also known as early onset scoliosis) where abnormal spinal curvatures appear in newborns and infants.
Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS) is discovered, as the name suggests, in teenagers and is most common.
In younger children, the progression of scoliosis can sometimes rectify itself, requiring no further treatments. That is not typically the case, however, for many patients.
What Are the Benefits of Physiotherapy for Scoliosis?
Physiotherapy for scoliosis most commonly involves a prescribed exercise program that, when followed by the scoliosis patient, can achieve:
- Improved range of motion
- Improved posture
- Improved trunk alignment
- Improved breathing
- Pain relief and improved quality of life
Now that we have our definition, let’s get into the physiotherapy exercises for scoliosis that can help relieve you of your symptoms.
Some Key Physiotherapy Exercises For Scoliosis
A trained physical therapist will be able to prescribe a number of exercises that, when followed, typically help scoliosis patients’ symptoms improve.
Using manual therapy that involves the back, hips, hands and knees, neck, and other parts of the body, physical therapy will help to alleviate pain and restore motion.
The bundle of exercises that are most often used to help treat scoliosis is called the Schroth Method. This is a non-invasive, non-surgical treatment option for scoliosis that has proven to help patients.
This set of exercises was named for Katharian Schroth, who in the late 1800s had scoliosis but was unable to treat it with techniques at the time (like back braces). She then developed her own breathing technique and exercises to help manage the condition. Alongside her daughter, they opened up a clinic where they were able to treat over 150 patients at once.
In contemporary physiotherapy, Schroth exercises work to de-rotate, elongate, and stabilize the spine in a three-dimensional plane.
These physical therapy exercises focus on:
- Restoring muscular symmetry and posture alignment
- Breathing, particularly into the concave side of the body
- Making the patient more aware of their posture
Let’s now break down some of the key focus areas of the Schroth Method:
Due to the abnormal spine curvature, the muscles in your back are also impacted. Depending on the side of the curvature, you may see some muscles become overworked, while others may weaken or waste away. The exercises are designed to ensure muscular symmetry.
Rotational Angular Breathing
Breathing is one of the key aspects of the Schroth Method. The method employs a special breathing technique which is called rotational angular breathing. This involves rotating the spine with breathing to help reshape the rib cage and soft tissue surrounding it.
Awareness of Your Posture
The early implementation of the method involved mirrors to help patients gain awareness of their posture. After all, being aware of how your spine is positioned is the key to correcting it. Postural awareness is especially vital as it impacts day-to-day living for patients.
Being aware of how you’re sitting or standing will help you avoid positions that would further aggravate your symptoms.
Physiotherapy Exercises for Scoliosis That Help You Feel Better
White Pine Health offers full service physiotherapy for scoliosis and a variety of other ailments in Brampton and the surrounding area. Committed to patient-centered treatments, we don’t cut corners. We’ll build a unique treatment plan suited to your needs and guide you along your healing journey.
Get the scoliosis treatment you deserve with White Pine that can help you:
- Get pain relief
- Restore range of motion
- Improve posture
- Improve core stability and strength
- Breath easier
- Get better overall movement pattern and function
- Improve self-management and understanding of the spine
- Get better pelvis alignment
- And more
White Pine Health also offers virtual physiotherapy sessions, so that you can receive the care you need right from the comfort of your own home. Contact us to book a free 20-minute video session today!