The Effect of Schroth Therapy on Thoracic Kyphotic Curve and Quality of Life in Scheuermann’s Patients: A Randomized Controlled Trial
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This high quality randomised controlled single-blinded clinical trial involving 50 adolescents (aged 10 – 17 yrs) with Scheuermanns disease evaluated the efficacy of Schroth therapy on thoracic curve angle, pain and self perceived body image compared to the efficacy of classic anti-gravitation exercises.
The participants were randomly split into two treatment groups. One group received a Schroth therapy program involving three-dimensional exercises, customised for each individual patient. The other group received five classic anti gravity exercises (such as thoracic extension from prone lying) which are conventionally used by various health professionals for treatment of hyperkyphosis. Both groups performed the same volume of their daily exercise routine for 12 months.
The results found “The Schroth therapy group showed significantly greater improvement than the classic anti-gravitation exercise group.”.
The Schroth therapy group showed a significant improvement over the control group in terms of the main outcome measure – improvement of the thoracic Cobb angle (8.78 degrees +- 8.38 degrees v 3.57 degrees +- 7.59 degrees), amount of improvement in thoracic kyphosis measured with an inclinometer (10.54 degrees +- 7.65 degrees v 4.09 degrees +-6.71 degrees) and also the Self Perceived Body Image (SPBI) score where a significant change was observed in the Schroth exercise group v’s no significant change in the anti-gravity exercise group.
There are 3 key elements to a Schroth treatment program that help explain why it is superior to standard prescription exercises in the treatment of Scheuermanns as outlined in this article and indeed other spinal variations such as scoliosis. Each exercise within a Schroth therapy program is tailored individually to the person. No two curves are exactly the same so each person gets to understand and perform exercises specific to their unique needs. Only those trained specifically in the Schroth method can effectively analyse an individuals curve in three dimensions and then provide correct instruction to the individual on how they best perform their specific exercises. Secondly, Schroth therapy places a large emphasis on incorporating the exercises and what individuals learn about their own specific curve into daily activities, effectively increasing the treatment time so that re-training is taking place throughout the day, not just during the actual ‘exercise session’, leading to greater endurance ability and habituation of the improved posture. Finally Schroth therapy exercises include a combination of forces acting on the spine including an elongation force which is quite unique to Schroth therapy and vital for curve reduction.