When I have questions about what is best for each of my clients I refer back to their recommendations. SOSORT regularly releases consensus papers based on reviewing all the current research. The papers from 2011 and 2016 provide excellent guidelines for treating adolescent idiopathic scoliosis through all its stages. The recommendations are presented as ranges for each combination of age/severity of scoliosis leaving room for the individuality of each case.
The least aggressive way to manage scoliosis is observation, next is physical therapy scoliosis-specific exercises (PSSE, Schroth being one type), followed by various types/intensity of bracing, and lastly surgery. SOSORT recommends PSSE in the range of treatment for mild to moderate cases of scoliosis. For severe cases, the minimum recommendation is bracing with surgery being the maximum.
So you might take away that Schroth is only good for mild to moderate cases of scoliosis. I would clarify that Schroth ALONE is recommended for those cases. There are several research studies that show that the results of bracing are improved even further by doing them in conjunction with scoliosis specific exercises.
Even if surgery is unavoidable, pre/post surgical Schroth is often used to improve the outcome and recovery afterward. Pre-rehab has become a common practice for total knee replacements due to the recovery advantages of preparing the tissue for surgical changes. Because scoliosis therapy is catered specifically to the individual, it can help promote appropriate soft tissue flexibility and strength to accelerate acceptance of the new corrected, surgical posture.
Rachel Clay, Scoliosis Specialist
I help people with scoliosis and posture issues return to normal life without pain, feel better about their body image, prevent worsening of their curves, and avoid surgery using specialized exercise!