Scoliosis Therapy

Scoliosis is a 3-dimensional curvature of the spine that affects two to three percent of the world's population. Ministry Saint Michael's Hospital is dedicated to the conservative management of scoliosis.

 

PHYSICAL THERAPISTS

Physical therapists at Ministry Saint Michael's Hospital are among the first therapists certified in the United States to treat patients using the Schroth Method for scoliosis treatment. We have been using this method at Ministry Saint Michael's since 2004.

PHYSICAL THERAPY TREATMENT

Treatment typically begins after a 15° Cobb angle is detected. Schroth physical therapy techniques include spinal elongation exercises, breathing techniques, postural training and manual techniques to improve muscle strength and control and to improve spinal flexibility. There are multiple goals of therapy:

  • Educate the patient on spine anatomy and the interaction between muscle imbalance, effects of gravity, and the progression of the scoliosis itself.
  • Teach specific individualized exercises to train to correct muscle imbalances, improve respiratory capacity, and improve trunk symmetry.
  • Maintain postural corrections through activities of everyday living.

 

 

By participating in the Schroth program patients become active in managing their own scoliosis and their own health.

WHAT IS A COBB ANGLE?

In an x-ray film, the curve of the scoliosis is usually measured by looking at the back view of the spine and measuring the angle formed by the top and bottom vertebrae of the curve. This measurement is called the Cobb angle.

IS THE SCROTH PROGRAM RIGHT FOR YOU?
Schroth physical therapy treatment is appropriate for adolescents and adults with scoliosis. The intensity of the exercise program may need to be modified for older populations. With the Schroth program you can expect a decrease in your pain, more symmetrical appearance and a sense of empowerment over the condition. 
  

 

 

WHAT CAUSES SCOLIOSIS?

Approximately two to three percent of the world's population has scoliosis. Ninety percent of scoliosis is idiopathic (no known cause). The causes of curve progression are not understood completely.

The following factors may contribute to the development and progression of scoliosis: curvature pattern of the spine, age, sex, pregnancy, genetics, environment, and other factors.

WHY HASN'T THE SCHROTH METHOD BEEN USED AS TREATMENT BEFORE IN THE UNITED STATES?

The Schroth method has been used in Germany for the past 50 years. It was developed by a German physiotherapist who herself had scoliosis. Over time the exercises were expanded and the treatment method spread to Spain and Israel. Much of the initial research was published in non-English medical journals. As more research has become available to English speakers, the Schroth technique has begun to spread to the United States and other English speaking countries. The Schroth technique adds an individualized exercise component to the traditional standard of care for scoliosis in the United States.

HOW DO I GET STARTED WITH TREATMENT?
Once you have received a referral from your physician, a formal evaluation by one of our certified physical therapists will be completed. The initial evaluation will include a review of patient history and x-rays (if available). It will also include observational assessment of posture and trunk symmetry. Digital photographs will be taken to document the patient's particular curve. The photographs are also used in educating the patient about the curve. Strength and range of motion assessments as well as breathing capacity may also be measured.
HOW LONG IS THE TREATMENT PROGRAM?
The training process for learning the exercises typically takes ten to 20 visits. For patients who live in the area we can spread these visits out over a 2 - 3 month period. For those living out of Stevens Point, physical therapy sessions typically are performed two times a day for one to two weeks. All patients will progress with the exercises differently so the specific number of visits may vary. We can adjust our schedule however to fit the needs of your circumstances. We have arranged for all of our out of town patients to stay at a local hotel at a discounted rate. Please mention this to us when you schedule your appointment.

WILL MY INSURANCE COMPANY COVER THIS TYPE OF THERAPY?

Most insurance companies do cover physical therapy. However, as always it is recommended that you call your own insurance company to verify the policy before you begin physical therapy. It is important to ask about co-pays, deductibles and limit on the number of visits. On every insurance card, there is a toll-free customer service number to call for information regarding the benefits available under your plan. Some insurance companies provide an additional number on your card specifically related to health plan benefit information. If Ministry Saint Michael's Hospital is outside of your network, your insurance company may make an exception for coverage since this program is not available in most areas. Ministry Saint Michael's Hospital is also committed to assisting individuals with financial concerns.

Success Stories
 

Rutgers Student Tries Schroth Method, Improves Posture

After Athena Mitilsky returned to her hometown following her sophomore year as a Spanish major at Rutgers University, she spent the summer as many other 20-year-old college students do: working, exercising, spending time with friends, and preparing for her next semester. In Athena's case, though, she also concentrated on specific posture exercises about 20 minutes each day. The reason? She has scoliosis.

Schroth Method Assists Treatment of Scoliosis

Rosholt resident Colleen Kluck, 54, realizes that with advances in technology and rehabilitation, her scoliosis would have been treated much differently today than it was when she was a child. But she's excited about a new form of scoliosis rehabilitation that's improving her physical quality of life.

Scoliosis Doesn't Stop Local Hairdresser

At age 11, Pat Casey was diagnosed with scoliosis. When she was young, Pat went through a myriad of tests and procedures in order to treat her scoliosis. "First we tried a chiropractor for about a year, and then we decided that wasn't going to work, so we went to an orthopedic specialist in Milwaukee," she said. "They put me in a body cast, and I wore that for about a year and a half."

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