FAQs – Scoliosis

The following questions are a random selection of actual questions, which we have received from visitors to our website, when making enquiries about the effectiveness of the Schroth Method of scoliosis exercise therapy, and the programs and classes we offer.

In terms of health related quality of life (QOL), our classes and programs can benefit each of the the demographic profiles listed below:

  • Juvenile & Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis before puberty and skeletal maturity
  • Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis after puberty and skeletal maturity
  • Adult idiopathic scoliosis from the age of 18
  • Adult idiopathic scoliosis >30 years of age; and "De Novo" new adult scoliosis, a degenerative scoliosis

We advocate conservative treatment for idiopathic scoliosis (CTIS) and adhere to the SOSORT 2016 guidelines reagrding Othopaedic and Rehabilatation treatment of idiopathic scoliosis during growth.

With regards to adolescent bracing, we advocate the use of asymmetrical three dimensional (3D) Chêneau style bracing such as the Gensingen, Rigo RSC, and Sobernheim braces. With compliance during the pubertal growth spurt and before skeletal maturity, bracing can be effective in preventing curvature progression, and reducing curvatures.

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[2 questions from mothers, each with a daughter being fitted with a brace.]

My 13 year old daughter’s curve has progressed to 26°. She is being fitted with a brace in a fortnight. My eldest daughter has congenital scoliosis and has had corrective surgery, I need to avoid this with my younger daughter.


My 13 year old daughter was diagnosed with thoracic scoliosis (Cobb 37°) in January and will shortly be fitted with a brace, with the suggestion that she may in the future require surgery. We are interested to find out more about the Schroth method in order to improve outcomes and avoid surgery.

Orthpaedic specialists consider a patient at risk of spinal fusion surgery once curvatures increase to around 45°. 

The fact the 2 thirteen yo girls are being fitted with a brace indicates they have not yet reached skeletal maturity, and an opportunity to prevent further progression exists, before growth is complete.

Appropriate 3D Cheneau style bracing together with Schroth Method scoliosis exercise therapy can be a very beneficial conservative treatment approach in preventing further progression.

Idiopathic scoliosis is a three dimensional (3D) disorder of the spine and trunk. For bracing to be effective, it should correct the spine three dimensionally, in the  frontal, sagittal, and transverse planes. Asymmetrical 3D Chêneau style braces such as the Gensingen, Rigo RSC, and Sobernheim braces are custom made for each individual using computer-aided design/computer-aided manufacturing (CAD/CAM) technology.

The braces are a mirror image of the individual’s scoliosis. They have pressure points and relief (open) areas to allow for expansion and correction. A major attribute of the Chêneau style brace is the opening and fixing straps are at the front, making it easy to put on and take off without assistance.

Further helpful information about adolescent bracing and the Schroth Method is available here:

Recommend attending one of our informative Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis workshops held at our Centre.


[Can Schroth Method scoliosis-specific exercise therapy help post surgery?]

Is the exercise therapy program suitable when a patient has had spinal fusion surgery? My daughter has had surgery but also still has a curve in her lower back.

Post-surgery the focus needs to be on stabilization of the free (unfused) vertebra/segments below the fusion, and lumbar sacral junction. Initially, rotation should be avoided. Breathing is very important, and emphasis needs to be given to improving breathing movements on the concave side using Schroth corrective breathing.

If there is a functional second curve remaining, this also needs to be addressed, it does not always correct by itself after surgery. Therapy also needs to take into account the psychological welfare of the patient.

A Schroth Method exercise program could help, as outlined above.

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[24 yo female with chronic pain in right shoulder and lower back; and curvatures at risk of progression.]

I am 24 years old and have a scoliosis it’s about 43°. Would the Schroth Method be helpful in my case? The side effects of my scoliosis are pain in my right shoulder and increasing pain in my lower back.

The 24 yo female reported pain in her right shoulder and increasing pain in her lower back, which indicated there were 2 curves present. A digital x-ray image, and radiology reports for the previous 4 years, emailed to our Centre, confirmed a primary thoracic curve, of approximately 50°; and a secondary curve in her lumbar spine. Her right hip was also prominent and elevated.

The reports described her pain as chronic.

Curvatures of 45° are considered at risk of spinal fusion surgery. If surgery is not the preferred option, what conservative treatment options are available?

Bracing is prescribed, and can be effective in preventing curve progression, but only during periods of rapid growth, particularly the pubertal growth spurt before skeletal maturity.

Schroth Method scoliosis-specific exercise therapy could help restore postural balance and alignment; prevent further progression; and eliminate pain by removing the asymmetrical loading on her spine.

Attending either our 6 or 10 day Residential Schroth Method Therapy Program, and committing to home exercise program of 4 days per week could help improve her health related quality of life (QOL).


[29 yo female, mostly pain free, with curvatures at risk of progression.]

I am a 29 year old female with an ‘S’ curve. I have been mostly pain free my entire life … However, I would like to correct my curve. I believe my top curve is around 40° and lower is around 29 °.

Schroth Method scoliosis exercise therapy could help restore postural balance and alignment; prevent further progression; and thereby prevent the possible onset of pain by removing the asymmetrical loading on her spine.

Attending a Schroth Method Therapy Program, and committing to a home exercise program of 4 days per week could help improve her health related quality of life (QOL).


[33 yo female experiencing constant lower back pain, curves now at risk of progression]

Hello, I am a 33 year old female who was diagnosed with scoliosis at 18 years of age. It’s only more recently that I have been experiencing constant lower back pain on the side of my scoliosis curvature. I have noticed over a period of time, my hips and waistline have become very different, my right side is much weaker, and caving in. Is there any way the Schroth Method of exercises can improve the appearance of my hips and waist, and stop the constant pain in my lower back?

Schroth Method scoliosis exercise therapy and introducing therapeutic elements into ordinary activities in daily life (ADL) could help restore postural balance and alignment; prevent further progression; and thereby prevent the possible onset of pain by removing the asymmetrical loading on her spine.

Attending a Schroth Method Therapy Program, or as an outpatient, attending 1 to 2 scoliosis exercise classes per week,  and committing to a home exercise program of 3 or 4 days per week, could help improve her health related quality of life (QOL).

An outpatient weekly exercise therapy session and a home program is now helping the patient.

Even though in this case, our new patient has the same scoliosis pattern as the 24 yo female above, the pain syndrome is different. Scoliosis-specific exercise therapy needs to be customized to individual needs. The Schroth Method of scoliosis-specific exercise therapy advocates and conforms to the SOSORT 2016 guidelines.  Every case of idiopathic scoliosis is different, irrespective of the recognizd pattern

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[46 yo female in constant pain with double major scoliosis pattern.]

I am 46 and have had scoliosis all of my life, it has now got to the stage where I am in constant pain, and I am starting to see humps in my back,  I need to do something to avoid surgery in the future.

Introducing Schroth Method therapeutic elements into ordinary activities in daily life (ADL) helps an individual reduce the asymmetric loading on the main scoliosis curve, in this case 2 major curves. Education in Schroth Method ADL is explained in detail on our Residential Program page, Part 5.

Schroth Method scoliosis-specific exercise therapy can help restore postural balance and alignment; prevent further progression; and eliminate pain by removing the asymmetrical loading on her spine.

Attending either our 6 or 10 day Residential Schroth Method Therapy Program, and committing to home exercise program of 4 days per week could help improve her health related quality of life (QOL).


[42 yo female finding it increasingly difficult to manage pain levels]

I'm a 42 yo woman with a long S-bend - 33° one way, 31° the other...with rotation. I work with a personal trainer and do swimming but I'm still not managing pain levels very well, and this is becoming increasingly challenging as I get older. I'm seeking information on your 6 day residential program including dates, costs, and medical documentation needed beforehand. It's been probably a decade (and two babies) since I've had x-rays done and I haven't seen a surgeon for probably two decades, as the advice at the time was that it wasn't operable noting that it is so spread out.

Idiopathic scoliosis of 30° or greater can progress in adulthood. It's likely the double curvature may have progressed since the last x-rays were taken a decade ago; pain syndromes can and do accompany curvature progression.

The immediate priority is to arrange for x-rays to be taken to establish the current extent of the curvatures… 'Full Spine and Pelvis – AP LAT' in an erect standing position. A radiologist will issue a report describing the extent of the scoliosis, and note any degenerative aspects, if present.

In major Australian capital cities, some medical imaging centres now have EOS low dosage radiation x-ray imaging, which is 6 to 9 times less radiation exposure than normal x-rays. A current set of x-rays, digital or hardcopy film, and the radiologist report, is all that is required to satisfy initial assessment requirements for the 6 day program.

In the majority of cases, curvatures in the thoracic spine are to the right, and in the Lumbar spine to the left. If the scoliosis is a ‘Double Major’, the following characteristics may be present:

  • One hip may be elevated and prominent, shifted sideways, on the side of the thoracic curve; the waistline will be asymmetrical, different, one side to the other
  • The trunk will lean away over to the side of your lumbar curvature; weight bearing will be through the leg on the side of the lumbar curvature
  • The shoulder on the side of the thoracic curve may be elevated and protracted; shoulder blades (scapulae) will be prominent 
  • The ribcage will be rotated sideways and backwards on the side of the thoracic curve; compressed on the side above the lumbar curve; the back on this side may possibly be flat, and the front lower ribs prominent

While gym type exercises and swimming are OK from a general fitness perspective, these activities will not help relieve the asymmetrical loading on the spine, which is a major factor in scoliosis progression, and the onset of chronic pain.

Schroth scoliosis-specific exercise therapy specifically addresses postural and trunk asymmetries mentioned above, and in doing so, can prevent further curve progression, and alleviate pain syndromes. Schroth corrective breathing can be very effective in mobilizing, expanding, and de-rotating the ribcage. 

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[Questions from 3 adult women with scoliosis, both are in pain, and have a degenerative condition.]

I am a woman, 64 years old, whose scoliosis has continued to get worse. My curve has become more pronounced. I have lost two inches in height. I suffer with constant nagging back pain. I've had back pain for 10 years. I have an S shaped curve. Trying to find what treatment options are available.


Wondering if your Schroth Residential Program could help my advanced scoliosis...I am 67yrs and recently started to get an uncomfortable sensation around my top left rib due to the rotation. I have remained active but am now considering surgery. I have tried other methods of treatment but to no avail and am reluctant to pay the costly amount for the program if it is another dead end. Does it have real results as I would do the hard yards.


I am a 70 year old woman suffering from adult degenerative scoliosis. I have lost 13 cm in height and am unable to stand or walk for long without pain… I have read about the Schroth Method and wondered if it would be helpful in my case.

Excluding scoliosis that develops early in life or from a separate syndrome there are 2 types of adult scoliosis: Adult idiopathic scoliosis, which is a progression of the scoliosis from adolescence where curves have since worsened due to disc degeneration and possibly sagittal imbalance; and Adult degenerative scoliosis, also known as de novo (new) scoliosis which starts in adult life due to disc degeneration, arthritis of facet joints and other factors.

For the majority for adults with degenerative scoliosis, whose symptoms are not disabling, the Scoliosis Research Society consider exercises and braces appropriate, non-operative treatment options. Exercises for "strengthening the core muscles of the abdomen and back and improving flexibility"; and braces used short term for pain relief.

The Schroth Method of scoliosis exercise therapy is gentle and non-invasive and focuses on rebalancing the postural muscles of the body to reduce the asymmetrical loading on the spine caused by the scoliosis.

Unlike exercises you would perform in a gym, Schroth exercises involve aligning your body in an over corrected position, which mirrors your scoliosis, and then engaging in Schroth corrective breathing to expand and mobilize the compressed and restricted areas of the ribcage and correct the spine; the corrected posture is stabilized on the exhale breath through muscle tensioning.

Attending either our 6 or 10 day Residential Schroth Method Therapy Program, and committing to home exercise program of 4 days per week could help improve health related quality of life (QOL) of both women. Adult bracing for short periods could provide pain relief for both the 64 and 70 yo women when walking and engaging in household chores.

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Schroth Method Therapy for Scoliosis

Scoliosis Workshops, Drysdale, Vic. 

Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis

Information workshop for parents and adolescents:
Saturday, 5 May 2018
11.00am – 1.00pm
Scoliosis Therapy Centre, Drysdale
For more details click here


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