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Do you know what scoliosis is? Did you know that girls have a higher incidence of scoliosis than boys? The literature states that adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS) occurs in 0.47% to 5.2% of teenagers.
This report goes on to say that the cause of scoliosis is unknown in 80% of the cases. Some think this results from the central nervous system’s or the body’s inability to maintain internal functions.
It might also occur in those who have trouble with proprioception. Proprioception describes the ability to feel where your body parts are located.
There are many different treatment options for scoliosis. Keep reading to learn about the Schroth method.
What Is Scoliosis?
The definition of scoliosis is a deviation or curve of the spine greater than 10 degrees. AIS is the most common deformity of the spine found in healthy children over the age of 10 years.
Scoliosis was first described thousands of years ago. Hindu texts from 3500 BC described a woman with three different back deformities.
It’s said that the Hindu God Krishna straightened her back. The writings say he put his feet on hers and pulled her up by the chin. Hippocrates also treated back deformities by placing patients in traction.
In the early 1900s, Harrington invented a spinal instrumentation system to treat scoliosis.
What Causes Scoliosis?
The cause of scoliosis has three main classifications.
If the specific cause isn’t known, it’s classified as idiopathic scoliosis. AIS is the most common type and most often diagnosed during puberty.
This type of scoliosis occurs due to an embryologic deformity in the spine. The vertebrae are the bones that make up the spine. When they are not normal, the spine can curve and cause other deformities.
This type of scoliosis is often diagnosed at a younger age. The early diagnosis is possible because the problem is present at birth.
When scoliosis results from neurologic or muscular disease, it fits this classification. Examples include cerebral palsy, spinal cord trauma, muscular dystrophy, spinal muscular atrophy, and spina bifida.
This type of scoliosis advances faster than idiopathic classifications. Thus, surgical treatment is often required.
Genetic factors play a role in the incidence and progression of scoliosis. Boneandjoint.org states that genetics plays a role in 97% of patients with AIS. They further state that 40% of patients with Prader-Willi syndrome have scoliosis.
If you have a close relative with scoliosis, it’s important to have a scoliosis screening.
Signs and Symptoms of Scoliosis
Scoliosis has several noticeable signs and symptoms. These include:
- Uneven shoulders: one is higher than the other
- One or both shoulder blades may stick out
- The head isn’t centered above the pelvis
- Uneven hips: one is higher than the other
- Uneven rib cage: one side is lower than the other
- The body leans to one side
- The skin over the spine has dimples, hairy patches or color difference
Patients may also describe low back pain. You should have further testing if the pain is severe. You may have another spinal condition causing scoliosis.
Why Is Scoliosis a Problem?
Besides poor posture and cosmetic concerns, untreated scoliosis can cause further problems. These problems can include:
- Back pain
- Ligament weakness
- Tingling or numbness in the legs
- Permanent deformities
- Constant feeling of fatigue
- Breathing and lung problems due to compression of the chest
- Mobility problems due to deformed posture
- Arthritis in the spine
- Pelvic pain from the ribs rubbing on the top of the pelvis
In rare circumstances, scoliosis contributes to problems with heart valves. This can include mitral valve prolapse. This relationship isn’t clear.
What Is the Craniosacral Mechanism?
The Autonomic Nervous System has several components including cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). The Craniosacral Mechanism focuses on the CSF.
The CSF interconnects with the Chakras, Meridian Points, and Biofield. Together this comprises the energetic components and energetic anatomy. The physical body depends on this relationship.
The flow of CSF creates an energetic and hydraulic system of the body. It conducts the life force through the body. If the system gets interrupted, it affects the muscle tone.
This results in the shortening of muscles, latent trigger points, and spasms. You may not feel any pain to signal this process.
This shortening pulls on the spine causing it to curve. The body becomes stuck in a pattern of antagonistic and agonistic muscles. This muscle tightness causes the curving of the spine to increase.
The Schroth Method for Treating Scoliosis
The Schroth Method offers a non-invasive approach to treating the progression of scoliosis. Katharina Schroth developed this method to treat her own scoliosis. After extensive research, she found a treatment approach that helped correct her scoliosis.
This method involves conservative exercises focused on lengthening the body’s trunk. It also includes the development of the rib cage muscles. When these muscles aren’t used, they get weaker.
The goal is to increase the upper trunk strength and lengthen the torso. This helps correct the abnormalities of the spine.
The practitioner examines the three-dimensional (3-D) shape of the spine and torso. This provides an understanding of the vertebral (bones of the spine) rotation.
The goal of this method is to straighten and regain proper alignment of the spine. They give the patient the best chance of having long-term benefits.
Treatment using the Schroth Method involves performing exercises designed for your individual case. These exercises involve positioning, repetition, and breathing. This helps you gain an awareness of the desired posture.
Craniosacral Therapy (CST), Pranic Healing, and Breathing exercices may also add synergy in treating scoliosis. This serves to reach your maximum therapeutic goals.
The Schroth method uses a two-phased approach. First, the practitioner positions your body in proper alignment. Special equipment such as a pull-up bar, straps, or props helps to ensure the correct positioning of the torso.
The second part involves “activating” the posture corrections from phase one. This means that the muscles are worked and trained to improve their strength. This increases their ability to support the spine and ribs.
Advanced Breathing Techniques
The next phase uses advanced breathing techniques. The goal is to reset the patient’s physiology. This allows the body to release the functional restrictions it’s holding. You learn how to consciously breathe during the CST.
You will also receive instructions on breathing exercises to do at home.
Craniosacral Therapy for Treating Scoliosis
CST involves a gentle touch technique illuminating from the practitioner. This results in therapeutic patient response.
CST focuses on the link between the cranium (head) and the sacrum. The sacrum is the second to the last bone located at the bottom of your spine. This link works to move fluid through the body to maintain health.
The Importance of CSF in CST
According to the craniosacral mechanism theory, the Cerebro Spinal Fluid (CSF) moves through the body. It lubricates joints, tissues, and organs. It’s the driving force for all body system functions including muscle tone.
CSF surrounds the brain and spinal cord. It creates energetic rhythmic impulses of fluid. This gentle pumping of the CSF generates a “breathing” movement of life through your body.
This pulsing is the basic “blueprint” and key principle of our current state of health. If the rhythmic fluid flow becomes disrupted, the body can’t self-correct. This causes “dis-ease”.
People with scoliosis can benefit from an experienced craniosacral therapist. He or she places their hands on your body to feel, detect, and evaluate your craniosacral status. This allows them to correct irregular rhythms and impulses.
The goal of CST is to restore your body’s rhythm. Second, to renew all compromised areas. This allows the healing of sensory, motor, musculoskeletal, and neurologic problems, symptoms, and pain.
Benefits of the Schroth Method
The Society on Scoliosis Orthopedic Rehabilitation and Treatment (SOSORT) meets each year. This international society includes doctors, therapists, and other healthcare providers. These individuals specialize in using a non-surgical treatment for scoliosis.
The journal, Scoliosis and Spinal Disorders, published the SOSORT Award 2017 Winner’s article about the Schroth method. Kwan, et. al. was to first to investigate the outcomes of using the Schroth exercises for AIS patients. These exercises were performed in conjunction with bracing.
The initial findings showed that including Schroth exercise during bracing was better than only bracing. They saw improvement in Cobb angles, trunk rotation and quality of life scores. The Cobb Angle is the standard measurement used to define and track scoliosis progression.
Study participants who followed the exercise program gained a higher rate of Cobb angle improvement. This means that the spine moved toward normal alignment.
Questions to Ask Your Healthcare Provider
It’s always important to carefully choose your healthcare provider. When looking for a Schroth method professional, there are several questions to ask.
What Are the Provider’s Credentials?
Has this individual completed training in musculoskeletal treatment from an accredited college or university? Are their credentials related to scoliosis treatment? Check the SOSORT website to learn about the scientifically sound scoliosis treatments.
Do they specialize in scoliosis management or do they only treat it on occasion? Do they have additional certifications or post-graduate training in scoliosis management? Do they attend continuing education programs such as SOSORT conferences?
Are the Provider’s Scoliosis Claims Based on Scientific Evidence?
Don’t be shy about asking if their treatments are based on research evidence published in peer-reviewed journals. Examples of reputable journals include Spine, STA Treatment Reviews, and SOSORT Scoliosis Journal.
Do They Have Patient Testimonials?
Ask if you can look at patient testimonials. These should include patients who have undergone the same prescribed treatment. This can let you hear from others about their treatment outcome.
How Long Do They Expect Treatment to Last?
Some types of scoliosis can resolve in a short time with the right treatment. Treatment plans that involve moving the spine in the correct way can decrease the curves. Yet, if the nervous system isn’t trained to hold this correction, the problem will return.
Most treatment regimens don’t have a set time limit. Each patient’s progress differs. For an adult, the goal may be to relieve pain and stop further progression. In adolescence, the goal is often the same.
Trustworthy scoliosis treatment programs provide tools and guidelines for life-long management of your scoliosis. You should have ongoing support and instructions to ensure effective long-term management.
Are Corrective Movements Included in Therapy?
The most beneficial scoliosis treatment programs include specific corrective movements such as Schroth. Be sure to ask if your treatment plan will include corrective exercises.
Are You Looking for Scoliosis Treatment?
Do you or a family member think you may have scoliosis? If you recognize any of these symptoms, it’s important to see a healthcare provider. If scoliosis isn’t treated, you can experience further complications.
If you receive a scoliosis diagnosis, there are different treatment options available. If you’re located in New York City, you may wish to consider the Schroth method with Dr. Kaminsky.
Dr. Alex Kaminsky became a chiropractor in 2000. His practice, located in New York City, offers a variety of treatment options to decrease your discomfort. This includes the treatment of scoliosis patients of all ages.
Treatment for scoliosis may include Craniosacral Therapy, Pranic Healing, and Breathing Techniques. The Schroth sessions also include these treatment approaches.
If you live in New York City, contact us today to learn more about our services.