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Staying Ahead of the Curve for Adolescent Spine Treatment

By |2024-05-10T08:37:17-04:00March 29th, 2018|Categories: Pediatrics, Pregnancy and Parenting|Tags: , , |

When an adolescent is diagnosed with scoliosis, the condition may worsen as they grow, so early screening and treatment can be crucial. But the good news for adolescents: treatment options for scoliosis are no longer limited to surgery or braces.

How is Scoliosis Diagnosed?

Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis develops without a clear cause, but it’s typically marked by a curvature of the spine and a deformity in the bone of the vertebrae. This causes the spine to rotate, and often the ribs follow. Screenings, whether performed in school, at a physician’s office, or by a physical therapist, can help diagnose the condition early, when it is most treatable.

Screenings can be performed using a scoliometer, a device that measures the degrees of rotation at the trunk. Once it’s determined that the adolescent is at risk of having scoliosis, it’s recommended that an orthopedic specialist in scoliosis evaluates and provides a diagnosis, measures Cobb angles (spinal curves measured by X-ray), determines the risk for progression, and offers treatment options.

CentraState Medical Center’s physical therapy and rehabilitation department offers the Schroth 3D Treatment for scoliosis according to the principles of Christa Lehnert-Schroth. This is an innovative physical therapy treatment option for adolescent idiopathic scoliosis.

What is Schroth 3D Treatment?

The treatment is a conservative option that uses customized exercises and breathing techniques to work toward improving the scoliosis posture.

A team approach is ideal, with the physical therapist working closely with the patient, parent, orthopedic specialist, and orthotist. The indications for treatment are based on medical criteria, which are determined during an initial evaluation by a certified Schroth physical therapist. This type of therapy involves active patient participation, a commitment to performing a home-based program, and the patient’s continual support with postural corrections throughout daily activities. Sometimes, patients need bracing to help improve the curvature of the spine. However, the brace is removed to perform the exercises during therapy sessions. Patients must follow a schedule for wearing the brace and have follow-up visits with their orthotist.

Therapy includes treating the patient at all planes of the body, making it a 3D approach to treatment. It also involves cognitive, sensory-motor, and kinesthetic training. Exercises are designed to promote symmetry and improve posture alignment in various positions. Mirrors and Schroth bars are used during treatment to help patients become more aware of their bodies to assist with postural correction.

Patients typically attend therapy sessions two to three times per week until they can independently continue the exercises at home.

What are the Goals and Benefits of Schroth 3D Treatment?

The main goal is to improve posture to reduce the risk of progression. Each patient’s progress should be periodically monitored through follow-up visits with an orthopedic specialist and physical therapist after they complete the onsite portion of treatment.

Patients are expected to continue performing exercises at home to maintain the maximum benefits, which include:

  • Improved posture
  • Improved overall body awareness
  • Improved strength of postural muscles to promote symmetry
  • Improved alignment

Recently, an older adolescent student with scoliosis was referred for physical therapy after experiencing rib pain. Although she had stopped growing, Schroth 3D Treatment helped decrease the rib pain and improve scoliometer readings. Continuing the home program helped preserve her spinal alignment.

Schroth 3D treatment can revolutionize the way scoliosis is treated and change people’s lives for the better. To learn more and to schedule an appointment, call the physical therapy and rehabilitation department at 732-294-2700.

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