Living with Scoliosis

It was not until 2019 when Andrew turned 15 years old that we realized, after he had developed a sore shoulder, that he had a significant scoliosis. While we had been aware a few years earlier that he did have a mild scoliosis (like his dad), we had been reassured his scoliosis was not an issue since he was asymptomatic.

Andrew has grown tall and strong, and is active as a percussionist and lacrosse player. So, when I saw how curved his back was, I was shocked. Andrew's scoliosis had progressed into a double major. Cobb Angle measurements taken from his x-rays showed both his thoracic and lumbar curvatures were approximately 55°.

We were referred to an Orthopaedic Surgeon who informed us that our only option was spinal fusion surgery. Without surgery, we were told, Andrew’s scoliosis would continue to progress at the rate of 0.5 to 1° per month.

I was not prepared to accept that fusing Andrew’s spine was the only option (and if it was the only option then we did not have enough information to understand how it would impact his life). I started researching both spinal fusion surgery and other possible treatments online.  The more I read about how limited Andrew’s movement could be after surgery, and the likelihood that he would no longer be able to participate in the activities (or try new activities) which he enjoyed, the more focused I became on finding an alternative.    

I found a reference to the Schroth Method in a journal article regarding the treatment of  idiopathic scoliosis.  This led me to the Scolisis Therapy Centre's website. Soon after, Andrew and I attended a two week intensive Schroth Method Therapy Program in January 2020. It was such a relief to have Andrew's scoliosis thoroughly explained. 

Prior to attending the Scoliosis Therapy Centre there had been no information given to us regarding the 'mechanics' of flexion and rotation of Andrew's spine. Once I had a clear explanation of his scoliosis, I felt confident that a treatment based on physical therapy and exercises to counter the flexion and rotation would be effective.

Since we returned from the intensive program 4 months ago, Andrew has been following a Schroth Method home exercise program prescribed and customized specifically for his pattern of scoliosis. We both feel that the Schroth Method is helping him to better manage his scoliosis. He remains pain free and continues to participate in the physical activities and sports he enjoys.

Carolyn & Andrew 

Adelaide, South Australia

2nd May 2020 

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