Frequent readers know that I write often about the latest advances in stretching and exercise, especially if they have shown promise in helping patients avoid orthopedic surgery. Good warm-ups, smart stretches and better athletic form can often be just as effective as more aggressive surgical procedures.
Now a new article has highlighted an age-old technique for treating curvature of the spine, and it is reviving the debate over whether “bracing” is the best treatment for an S-shaped spine. Known as the Schroth Method, the original customized approach involves stretching and breathing, and extends into everyday life:
The therapy, tailored to each patient’s curves, focuses on halting curve progression, reducing pain, and improving posture, strength and lung function. The exercises include stretching, strengthening and breathing techniques that counteract the rotation of spinal curvatures. Patients are supposed to do them at home and incorporate postural corrections into their daily lives.
Now a randomized study has been performed comparing the Schroth Method to more conventional techniques, and the results were noteworthy:
At the University of Alberta in Canada, researchers recently completed a randomized pilot study of Schroth, financed in part by the research society. The six-month study showed that adolescents with scoliosis who did these exercises fared better than teenagers who didn’t with regard to curve progression, pain and self-image.
This is just one step toward a better way to contain the progressive effects of scoliosis, but it could represent greater changes to come. If you’d like to learn more about the latest news and advances in orthopedic surgery, contact my San Diego offices today.