Scoliosis Rehab and the therapists are amazing!! We have been blessed by their expertise and knowledge. My daughter was scheduled for surgery prior to speaking with Beth. She offered hope and encouragement. We have been participating in Schroth therapy with Scoliosis Rehab since June of 2016 and the results have been dramatic. I am so thankful for the team of professionals who greet you when you enter to the providers who love what they do and believe in patients they treat. My daughter continues to work this program and is able to see and feel the changes in her body. She has been blessed to be a part of the treatment program. We are so grateful for Beth and Rebecca and their ability to meet the patients where they are and help the patients continue to strive for new goals with encouragement and patience.
A mom of 14 year old Schroth patient at Scoliosis Rehab Inc ~ Stevens Point, WI
As an adult with scoliosis I had frequent back pain and had tried numerous therapies and exercises to deal with it including PT, chiropractic and pilates. Last year I learned that my scoliosis had significantly progressed over the course of the previous 4 years. I knew I needed to try something else and it was then that I learned about the Schroth Method. I spent a week studying the method with Beth and have practiced my exercises 4-5 mornings per week since then. After only one year, the curvature in my lumbar region has decreased from 35 to 28 degrees! Even more importantly, my back pain has been substantially relieved and my body feels more balanced. I am so thankful for the training that Beth provided and knowing a methodology that gives me some control over my scoliosis.
In my mid-30's I developed adult painful scoliosis. Two years of traditional meds, physical therapy and spinal facet injections only slightly reduced my pain, and did not get rid of it. I was against going the chiropractic route, as my nerves were so irritated that any kind of sudden movement could trigger muscle spasms. Just the thought of someone 'doing adjustments' on me terrified me. I found Scoliosis Rehab Inc. while searching the internet for anything else that could help me. Once I had my first appointment I knew I had found the right treatment. The therapy was finally reaching those hard-to- reach spasmed/tight muscles that nothing else touched! Also it was gentle, done at my own pace and required no 'assistance' once I had the exercises down. I was able to eliminate my pain and straighten my spine entirely on my own. I was so happy and overjoyed - I felt like I got my life back again after fearing that I was "stuck" and I would have to deal with the pain for the rest of my life.
- Linda Hansen, Houghton, MI
At 53 years of age, I have lived with scoliosis for 40 years... in my teens I did exercises and wore a Boston brace for 3 years. My worry was that I would end up like my older sister with a spinal fusion. In my late 20's, my back began to bother me and I searched for a means of finding relief; yoga, swimming, rowing and finally Pilates in my 40's. Pilates offered the most relief, I have found, and I went on-line to look for connections between the two and in that search, stumbled upon the Schroth method. I did not know how I would ever get to a European clinic so you can imagine my delight when I discovered the Scoliosis Rehab Clinic on-line and realized that I could go to Wisconsin instead! The education I received in one week at the Scoliosis Rehab clinic has given me the tools I have looked for since my 20's. Now I don't just manage my pain, I believe I am making actual physical changes to my body.
Beth gave me a detailed description of my anatomy and helped me understand what was going on in the balance between my muscles and my bones. Then both Beth and Patti worked with me to help me find my weak and strong places and how to initiate mental concentration and muscle activation along with breathing to work towards elongating and detorsioning my spine. I also met with Pilate's instructor, Amy, who gave me insight into the intersection of the Schroth work and the Pilates exercises that I have practiced for 7 years. I use the Schroth method that I have learned on an hourly basis. Whenever I am uncomfortable, I check in with my body and apply the corrections that Beth and Patti taught me. Brushing my teeth, waiting for water to boil, sitting here at the computer, driving a car, teaching my Pilates clients, holding a dog, lying in bed, in short, every move I make is informed by the corrections I was taught. It makes a huge difference in my quality of life and my outlook. It is very empowering to be able to help myself and know the anatomical reasons behind the corrections.
I look forward to returning to the Scoliosis Rehab clinic to take the second week of training. I encourage anyone (at any age) with Scoliosis to investigate this method. I can only imagine the results if this had been available to me in my teens. I would like to see this method taught to more American Physical Therapists so that it becomes available to many more people.
I think of you when I'm standing tall and comfortable. I got a little carried away but that's how enthusiastic I am about it. I did not even go into the emotional and spiritual relief I have gotten from this work. When you change the body, you affect everything! C.L. (adult) Charleston, South Carolina
When I first found out I had scoliosis, I was worried it wouldn't get better. When I went to Scoliosis Rehab, they taught me new ways to remind myself to keep good posture. They taught me good techniques to help keep my pelvis stable and less strain on the back. I was very happy when I found out my last x-ray showed no change. It's good to know that I do these exercises at home by myself.
M.C. (adolescent) Plover, WI
I am very thankful to have found the caring and supportive people at Scoliosis Rehab. Pain has been my constant companion since childhood, but I never understood why. After abdominal surgery nine years ago, the pain escalated and began to seriously limit my life. I searched for a way to manage the pain both in the medical community and in a variety of alternative approaches. Finally, I understand how my spinal curves contribute to my pain. And, even better, I know how to take control of myself to improve each day.
N.S. (adult) Marquette, MI
When I found myself, as a mother of two girls with scoliosis faced with the possibility of spinal fusion surgery, I was overwhelmed. I knew that there had to be a better option. I got on the internet to research alternatives and read about the Schroth method which is widely practiced in Europe. The case studies I read online looked promising. I was about to pack my girls up and travel to England when I discovered through another computer search that there was a Schroth clinic in Wisconsin. It was too good to be true. Our two weeks in Stevens Point, Wisconsin were very encouraging. The girls learned how to live andmake adjustments to their daily activities that have a positive effect on their scoliosis. They learned exercises that would keep their scoliosis from progressing. And, I can't say enough good things about their therapist. They gave them excellent one-on- one attention and encouragement. This is something that will impact my daughters in a positive way for the rest of their lives. There needs to be a Schroth clinic in every major city in the United States!
CC (mother of 2 adolescents), San Antonio, TX
From the first minute we walked into the clinic, we felt a great comfort that we had never felt any time we went to the doctor's office to see about TJ's back. The entire staff blessed us from the minute we walked in the door. More than anything, they gave us hope; hope that we could control what we had been made to believe until that point was in the hands of the doctors and fate. It was so great to take fate by the horns! Thank you Beth for taking the initiative to seek out this "revolutionary" therapy. You are changing lives!
With great respect,
DC (mother of adolescent) Mission, TX
We found out that our daughter had scoliosis at her well child check up when she was 9 years old. We were then referred to an orthopedic surgeon for evaluation. Once I figured out that it was a "wait and watch" deal and possible surgery down the road, I started researching other alternatives. We have been to chiropractors, Rolfing, Clear Institute program, braces, and even endured acupuncture with no results. Fortunately, after more research, I came across the Schroth method. As soon as we could, we flew to Scoliosis Rehab in Wisconsin. What an amazing place with such an astounding staff! Beth is compassionate about what she is doing for scoliotic patients and it shows. There are no words to express the gratitude we have for Beth and her staff. We learned so much information during the treatments, which you will not find anywhere else. The most important thing is that our daughter learned from it and at the same time enjoyed being there. When we left, she asked when we were going to get to come back! That spoke volumes to me. Thank you Beth and the Scoliosis Rehab Staff!!
T.M., Oklahoma City
Reversing Scoliosis through Schroth and Rigo-Cheneau: Our Family's Serendipitous Ride
The following paragraphs give an account of our family's rollercoaster ride regarding our adolescent daughter's idiopathic three-curve (C-curve) scoliosis, which, in a nutshell, went from an initially diagnosed 15 degrees, spiked to 34 degrees nine short months later, then plummeted to 18 degrees in a subsequent, less-than-seven-month period, and now measures 15 degrees, though with a slight increase in a high, compensatory cervical curve due to the dramatic reduction of the major thoracic curve. (Balance of the curves produces an end result of core health and symmetry of appearance.) While our ride will continue to be ongoing, we offer this testimonial both to encourage medical professionals in the United States to investigate clinically and scientifically the over eighty-year-old Schroth method of physical therapy and the complementary Rigo System-Cheneau brace, which work together to reduce the ill-effects of scoliosis, and to give hope to patients and parents confronting this ill-understood and physically problematic condition.
During our daughter's twelve-year physical examination in late May 2006, her pediatrician noticed an apparently mild scoliotic curvature. A subsequent (May 23, 2006) x-ray confirmed a three-curve, right thoracic, idiopathic scoliosis that measured about 15 degrees, with a slight compensatory lumbar curvature. Our daughter had experienced a rapid, pre-menarchy growth spurt earlier in that calendar year. Her scoliosis, even at this mild stage, was producing an obvious rib hump, observable rotation and unevenness in the height of her hips, forward protrusion and lowering of her right shoulder, flaring of both scapulas, and offsetting of her rib cage from her hips.
We requested a referral to an orthopedist, who, after indicating that most scolioses do not progress past an unproblematic (but non-invasively uncorrectable) 20 degrees, prescribed the standard medical approach in the U.S. for a mild-measuring curve: simply monitor it for further progression. At our request, however, the highly regarded and very excellent orthopedist provided us with a prescription for a Boston brace, which when fitted corrected our daughter's curve to about 7 degrees and which we had her wear at night when she slept (and when, according to our understanding, children do most of their growing). Since the scoliosis was mild, and since the pediatrician and orthopedist recommended no treatment at that time, we believed we were going the extra mile in trying to prevent an increase in the curvature, but without subjecting our daughter to an unreasonable amount of discomfort or anxiety. In addition, and with the orthopedist's consent (but not recommendation), we made the decision simultaneously to pursue chiropractic treatment for our daughter in the hope of halting the curving. (She was not experiencing any pain associated with the scoliosis.) She received this treatment three times per week for seven weeks.
At the end of August 2006-that is, after three months' worth of part-time bracing and chiropractic treatment-an x-ray showed that our daughter's curve had progressed from about 15 degrees to about 26 degrees. We were alarmed, but the orthopedist was still optimistic that the curvature would not progress further. Our daughter continued to wear the Boston brace at night but did not pursue more chiropractic treatment.
In mid-February 2007 (five and one-half months later), another x-ray showed that her curve had continued to progress and now measured about 34 degrees. As our (by this time) nearly 13-year-old daughter was still pre-menarchy, she clearly had more growth spurts ahead; so we became even more concerned about the trajectory she was on and the rapidity of the curve's progression (from 15 to 34 degrees in just nine months' time-and that with at least some degree of treatment). Our daughter's orthopedist instructed that she wear the Boston brace full time from this point on, and she began to do so. We, wanting to do all we could to avoid her needing surgery, began searching for other approaches to arresting the progression of her scoliosis.
Late one night while surfing the internet, we literally just happened upon the Katharina Schroth method of physical therapy for treating scoliosis and over the next few days "connected the dots" to discover the Rigo System-Cheneau brace, which works in tandem with the Schroth method. The published results from Schroth therapy, used in Europe since the 1920s, coupled with the well-reasoned approach of the Rigo-Cheneau brace, captured our attention, since both the physical therapy and the brace address scoliosis three-dimensionally both to straighten the spine and to derotate it. Our daughter's Boston brace merely squeezed her torso like a corset, severely restricted her breathing, and caused pain; the (much more comfortable) Rigo-Cheneau brace (also a hard plastic brace, but a custom-molded one) is made not only to straighten the spine's side-to-side curvature but also to reduce significantly the twisting of the vertebrae that exacerbates the curving, while building in strategically placed voids to allow the lungs and rib cage to expand when taking in air. These methods (the physical therapy and bracing) seemed to us not only more humane than the watch-and-wait approach and the painfully restrictive Boston bracing, but they also seemed to make eminent sense from a "body-mechanics" point of view. So we approached our daughter's orthopedist with a request for prescriptions for Schroth-method physical therapy and a Rigo-Cheneau brace. Though unconvinced that the methods would produce a better result than the conventional Boston brace worn full time, the orthopedist complied with our request to give the methods a try.
In mid-April 2007, our daughter (still pre-menarchy, with still-immature bones [of a Risser score of 1 or less]) was fitted with a custom-molded Rigo-Cheneau brace, which according to x-rays corrected her 34-degree curve to 10 degrees and began derotating her spine. Mr. Luke Stikeleather, of Orthotic Solutions in Fairfax, Virginia/Rockville, Maryland, made this brace and fitted her with it.
Then, during the first two weeks of May 2007, our daughter received intensive (four hours per day), one-on-one training in an individualized program of Schroth method physical therapy specifically addressing her particular curvature. She received this training primarily from Ms. Beth Janssen, P.T., at Scoliosis Rehab Inc. in Stevens Point, Wisconsin, which opened in 2006 as the first and only clinic in the U.S. currently devoted solely to Schroth-method physical therapy for scoliosis and other curvatures of the spine. (Mrs. Janssen is the second-longest-standing Schroth therapist in the U.S., having received her Schroth certification in 2003 after being trained by Dr. Manuel Rigo, who directs the Schroth clinic in Barcelona, Spain, and who developed the Rigo-System Cheneau brace.)
Our daughter began practicing her 30-60 minute Schroth routine daily after returning home in mid-May and continued to do so on the average of at least six days per week for the first two years. (She now practices this routine every other day). She wore the Rigo-Cheneau brace for an average of 22-23 hours per day for the first two years and removed it only to exercise and to shower. (For this third year, she now wears the brace 16 hours per day and will wean down to 8 hours per day during her fourth year. After she stops growing, she will discontinue wearing the brace but will continue the exercises. Initially, the "prescription" recommended for exercising is usually 30 minutes per day, five days per week, with the wearing of the brace being recommended at about 22 hours per day.)
At our election, our daughter returned to Scoliosis Rehab Inc. in August 2007 (three months after receiving her initial intensive training) for a weeklong refresher class (with three other adolescent scoliosis patients) to ensure that she was doing her exercises correctly, to "tweak" her routine, and to add several advanced exercises to her repertoire. Ms. Patti Orthwein, P.T. (also of Scoliosis Rehab Inc.) and Ms. Janssen conducted these classes.
On November 6, after just over six months of this two-pronged treatment, our daughter's out-of-brace x-ray showed that her scoliosis had not only been arrested but had actually been dramatically reduced-from 34 degrees to just 18 degrees, coupled with significant improvement in the rotational orientation of her vertebrae. Her clinical evaluation by the orthopedist confirmed that the obvious physical asymmetry, at its height the preceding February, was also dramatically reduced in every respect (rib humping, unevenness and rotation of the hips, protruding right shoulder, and offsetting of the rib cage from the hips). The orthopedist acknowledged the clear effectiveness of the treatment in our daughter's case and prescribed her continued pursuit of it, while even allowing that the treatment might represent an "innovation" (in the U.S.).
As our daughter has grown some four to five+ inches since receiving her first Rigo-Cheneau brace, she has been fitted twice with new ones, most recently in September 2008. (Incidentally, our insurance company has covered the entire cost of the braces [with prescriptions and an initial letter of medical necessity, the latter provided by her pediatrician] and has also covered the cost of her physical therapy [with the same accompanying documentation].) She will certainly avoid the need for surgery, has dramatically improved the look of her body from the point of view of physical symmetry, and now possesses the tools for maintaining a healthy spine and a strong body able to hold itself in its "corrected" position after the completion of her bracing treatment and physical growth. Her dramatic improvement has bolstered her resolve to continue the treatment, despite the sometimes discouraging challenge (especially to an adolescent girl) of finding clothing that lessens the obviousness of the brace (though the Rigo-Cheneau is less obvious under clothing than the Boston brace) and the seeming drudgery of the daily exercises. (From a parental point of view, our daughter's firsthand experience of the rewards of self-discipline has proven a positive byproduct of this outwardly negative challenge and one that in the future should serve her well in other areas of life.)
On a final note, the Schroth/Rigo-Cheneau approach to treating idiopathic scoliosis seems to us to offer a win-win situation: Compliant and physically responsive patients win by avoiding surgery (more often than not, multiple surgeries) and/or reducing pain and/or lessening asymmetries; physicians win by offering hope to patients and parents, who often feel helpless; patients and parents win by having choices for treatment; and insurance companies win through the reduced costs of conservative management (physical therapy and/or short-term orthotics) as compared to invasive treatment (surgery). The keys are, of course, patient compliance and, additionally in adolescents, remaining growth potential and skeletal immaturity at the outset of treatment. While other, undeterminable biological factors may sometimes minimize the effectiveness of the Schroth/Rigo-Cheneau approach despite the presence of these key ingredients in a given patient, the hope and empowerment it offers to those willing to put forth the effort is priceless. CT (adult) Allison Park, PA