Kate is 14 years old, and she was diagnosed with scoliosis one year ago. On her most recent X-ray, the curve of her mid-spine (thoracic curve) was measured at 21 degrees to the right, and the curve of her lower spine (lumbar spine) was 20 degrees to the left. Based on this information, Kate’s referring physician told her she was on the verge of needing to be braced to prevent these curves from progressing further.
Kate was then referred to Dynamic Sports Physical Therapy in New York City, where we use the Schroth Method to treat her scoliosis. The Schroth Method utilizes traction (distraction) breathing and positioning techniques in an attempt to optimize the alignment of the spine and slow down the progression of scoliosis. To read more about the Schroth Method, read our last blog.
When Kate first came in to see us, she told us that her first goal was to stop the progression of her scoliosis curve and to stay out of a brace if it could be avoided. She also wanted to stay pain free and continue to play soccer for her school competitively. Finally, Kate was interested in learning how the Schroth Method could help her in both the short- and long-term. Since scoliosis can’t be cured, these exercises, breathing techniques and positions will need to be regularly performed by Kate for a long time to come.
How we treated Kate’s scoliosis at Dynamic Sports Physical Therapy in New York City
To address Kate’s scoliosis, we first focused on her thoracic curve by teaching her to expand her ribs on the left side while inhaling. We also focused on driving the right side of her thoracic spine from the back toward the front while she was exhaling. This technique was performed with Kate lying on her back, lying on her abdomen, hanging off of wall bars and lying on her left side.
After using these breathing techniques, we had Kate perform some exercises designed to stabilize her core. The purpose of this was to lock in the changes that we had made with the breathing techniques and increase Kate’s ability to withstand the demands of her day-to day-activities and soccer, her favorite sport.
In addition to the techniques performed at Dynamic Sports Physical Therapy in New York City, we also instructed Kate to follow a home-exercise program, which she was diligent in performing daily. Kate reported that she had outfitted her house with tools to allow tractioning of her spine and followed the core stability program we put in place as well, which will continue to help her maintain the improvements she made in our clinic.
Kate’s last follow-up with her physician went great. Her curve had not progressed, and the physician told her she was not a candidate for a brace at this time. Due to the fact that Kate is 14-years-old and is still growing, however, she will have to be monitored by X-ray on a regular basis to make sure there is no curve progression. But the best thing is that Kate has armed herself with the knowledge of how to treat her condition, which gives her the best possible chance to halt any scoliotic changes.
Kate had this to say about the treatment she received: “At Dynamic Sports PT, my physical therapist pushed me past my limits in all aspects of my exercises. Not only did I start to feel better, but I also improved in my overall athletic abilities.”
We are thrilled to see that Kate was pleased with her improvements, and we are confident that she will continue to perform the recommended exercises from the Schroth Method with the goal of preventing her scoliosis from progressing any further. If you’re dealing with scoliosis or any other condition that’s affecting your lifestyle, contact Dynamic Sports Physical Therapy at 212-317-8303 to schedule an appointment today.
For more information on the Schroth Method, try the following links: