ST. LOUIS – The physical therapy unit at SSM Health Saint Louis University Hospital is the only facility within SSM Health with physical therapists specially certified to offer the Schroth Method of physical therapy for patients with scoliosis, or curvature of the spine. The PT unit services both adolescents and adults.
The scoliosis-specific exercises were developed by a German pioneer in the 1920s to treat scoliosis which can be more complex than a sideways curve of the back.
“It is actually not just a flat curvature it’s a rotation, so we teach them—if I’m looking at them from the side, if I’m looking at them from the top, if I’m looking at them from the front—how to change their body in three planes of movement,” says Susan Duffie, a physical therapist at SLU who offers the Schroth Method.
The 3D exercises are customized for each patient who is taught to do the exercises at home.
“I teach them to move their body move their pelvis and the big focus is trying to elongate so we can shift and move their body so that it’s in a straighter position,” Duffie said.
Duffie has been practicing the Schroth Method for three years and has seen some patients avoid surgery and reduce the need to wear a brace. “I have not had a patient who has not benefited in some way whether it’s a decrease in their pain improving their posture improving their strength and flexibility.”
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