Physical Therapy at the Spine Center

Not long ago, physical therapy wasn’t standard care in treating children and teens with a spine deformity such as scoliosis or kyphosis.

Doctors mostly used surgery and bracing. They relied less on natural methods to correct spinal curvatures.

At the Spine Center at UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, our physical therapists have training in the innovative Schroth therapy technique.

The Schroth method of physical therapy — designed in the 1920s — is standard in some countries in Europe for treating scoliosis. It only recently became popular again in the United States.

The Basics of Schroth Therapy

The Schroth method involves creating a specific exercise routine for each child, based on the curve in his or her spine.

Our physical therapists will teach your child each set of moves so he or she can do them at home.

The form of treatment helps:

  • Stop your child's spine from curving further.
  • Correct the spinal curve, in some cases.
  • Improve posture.
  • Strengthen lower back and core (stomach) muscles.
  • Reduce the amount of back pain.
  • Lessen the amount of pressure on internal organs such as the lungs.
  • Reduce or eliminate the need for surgery.

Why Schroth Therapy Works for Some Children

When your spine curves unnaturally to one side, it disrupts the body's natural balance.

The muscles on one side of the spine will be under more stress, as they support more of the body's load. In response to this, the muscles on the other side of the back become weaker.

The weaker muscles stretch, while the stressed muscles tighten. These two factors together make it easier for the curve to worsen.

We tailor Schroth exercises to the needs of each child to help target the weaker muscles of the back.

As the weak muscles become stronger, they will naturally pull the spine toward its normal position.

Many of our patients who wear a brace as part of their treatment will also use this therapy.

Contact the Spine Center

To make an appointment, contact the Spine Center at UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh at 412-692-5530.