Scoliosis Research

When Align Therapy started in Utah, we decided to focus on the most supported scoliosis treatment in the research. This was the Schroth Method. Since then, many research articles have come out relating to scoliosis treatment.

On this page, we will highlight some of those research articles to show support for the treatments we provide. This is by no means a comprehensive list, and articles come out every month in support of The Schroth Method, as well as others.

As you look at the research articles below, you can click on the title to take you to the abstract. You can also see the PEDro scale, which is a rating of how strong the research is. Higher is better.

The effect of Schroth exercises added to the standard of care on the quality of life and muscle endurance in adolescents with idiopathic scoliosis—an assessor and statistician blinded randomized controlled trial: “SOSORT 2015 Award Winner”. By Schreiber et al

PEDro Score: 8/10
Key Points:

  • Schroth scoliosis-specific exercises have demonstrated promising results on various outcomes in uncontrolled studies.
  • This randomized controlled trial aimed to determine the effect of Schroth exercises over 6 months combined with the standard of care (observation and bracing) on quality-of-life outcomes and back muscle endurance compared to standard of care alone in patients with AIS.
  • Schroth exercises in conjunction with the standard of care improved pain, self-image and back muscle endurance in patients with AIS over a 6-month long intervention contributing to improved overall quality of life with high patient compliance (85 % of visits were attended and 82.5 % of the home exercises were completed).

Schroth Physiotherapeutic Scoliosis-Specific Exercises Added to the Standard of Care Lead to Better Cobb Angle Outcomes in Adolescents with Idiopathic Scoliosis – an Assessor and Statistician Blinded Randomized Controlled Trial. By Schreiber et al.

PEDro Score: 8/10
Key Points:

  • This randomized controlled trial determined the effect of a six-month Schroth exercise intervention added to standard of care (observation and bracing) on the Cobb angle compared to standard of care alone in patients with AIS.
  • If a successful treatment is accepted as improving curves beyond or remaining within 5 ̊ of baseline values, there were 22 (88%) patients who were successfully treated (improved + stable) in the Schroth group as compared to 15 (60%) in the control group.

Active self-correction and task-oriented exercises reduce spinal deformity and improve quality of life in subjects with mild adolescent idiopathic scoliosis. Results of a randomised controlled trial. By Monticone et al.

PEDro Score: 7/10
Key Points:

  • Active self-correction, task-oriented exercises and education carried out until skeletal maturity are useful in reducing the course of spinal deformity and improving quality of life in adolescents with mild AIS.
    The effects lasted for at least 1 year after the intervention ended.

Effects of Exercise on Spinal Deformities and Quality of Life in Patients with Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis. Systematic Review by Anwer et al.

PEDro Score: N/A
Key Points:

  • 9 studies were assessed with an average PEDro score of 5.7/10 with the most common shortcomings being lack of randomization, lack of concealed allocation, and lack of blinding (patient, therapist,or assessor).
  • Meta-analysis revealed moderate-quality evidence that exercise interventions reduce the Cobb angle, angle of trunk rotation, thoracic kyphosis, and lumbar lordosis and low-quality evidence that exercise interventions reduce average lateral deviation.
  • Meta-analysis revealed moderate-quality evidence that exercise interventions improve the quality of life.

Effects of Bracing in Adolescents with Idiopathic Scoliosis. By Weinstein et al.

PEDro Score: 4/10
Key Points:

  • This study examined the role of bracing in patients with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis who are at risk for curve progression and eventual surgery.
  • The primary outcomes were curve progression to 50 degrees or more (treatment failure) and skeletal maturity without this degree of curve progression (treatment success).
  • This study concluded that bracing significantly decreased the progression of high-risk curves to the threshold for surgery in patients with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis.
  • The benefit increased with longer hours of brace wear.

Effects of the Schroth exercise on the Cobb’s angle and vital capacity of patients with idiopathic scoliosis that is an operative indication. By Kyoung-Don Kim et al.

PEDro Score: N/A
Key Points:

  • Five idiopathic scoliosis patients with a Cobb’s angle of the thoracic vertebra of 40 degrees or higher and Risser score of 3 or higher and performed supervised Schroth exercises 3 times a week for 12 weeks.
  • The thoracic trunk rotation angle decreased from 11.86 ± 3.32° to 4.90 ± 1.91° on average, the thoracic Cobb’s angle decreased from 42.40 ± 7.86° to 26.0 ± 3.65° on average, and the vital capacity increased from 2.83 ± 1.23° to 4.04° ± 1.67° on average.

Serial Case Reporting Yoga for Idiopathic and Degenerative Scoliosis. By Fishman et al.

PEDro Score: N/A
Key Points:

  • This weak study examined any possible benefits of the side plank pose in idiopathic and degenerative scoliosis primarily looking at any changes of cobb angle.
  • Among all patients, a significant improvement in the Cobb angle of the primary scoliotic curve of 32.0%.
  • Due to the weakness of this study, it is suggested that side planks be incorporated in conjunction with other interventions, where appropriate, to aid with achieving improved postural stability rather than performed in isolation.

Exercises reduce the progression rate of adolescent idiopathic scoliosis: Results of a comprehensive systematic review of the literature. By S. Negrini et al.

PEDro Score: N/A
Key Points:

  • This systematic review aimed to confirm whether the indication for treatment with specific exercises for AIS has changed in recent years.
  • Apart from one (no autocorrection, symmetric exercises, very low methodological quality), all studies confirmed the efficacy of exercises in reducing the progression rate (mainly in early puberty) and/or improving the Cobb angles (around the end of growth).
  • The actual evidence on exercises for AIS is of level 1b and this systematic review confirms and strengthens the previous reviews.

Comparison of two periods of Schroth exercises for improving postural stability indices and Cobb angle in adolescent idiopathic scoliosis. By Nadia L. Radwan et al.

PEDro Score: N/A
Key Points:

  • Twenty girls aged 10–16 years with AIS (study group) and 20 age-matched girls without AIS (control group) were examined before a Schroth exercises therapy program and one and three months afterward for effects on cobb angle and/or postural stability and for any correlation between cobb angle and postural stability.
  • In this study, the Schroth program was performed for one hour daily, three days a week, for three months.
  • Postural stability and Cobb angles were highly improved after three months of Schroth therapy compared to one month among AIS patients.

The efficacy of three-dimensional Schroth exercises in adolescent idiopathic scoliosis: A randomised controlled clinical trial. By Kuru et al.

PEDro Score: 6/10
Key Points:

  • The aim of this study was to determine if Schroth exercises under the supervision of a physical therapist is more effective than home-based therapy for reducing risk of curve progression.
  • Forty-five adolescent patients, mostly female, with mild to moderate AIS were divided into three groups: one group received Schroth treatment under supervision of a physical therapist, one group received Schroth treatment at home after their caregivers were taught the exercises following a six week instruction period by a therapist, one group received neither treatment.
  • The results showed that the Schroth exercise program under PT supervision was superior to the home exercise and control groups; additionally, it was observed that scoliosis progressed in the control group, which received no treatment.

Effects of novel corrective spinal technique on adolescent idiopathic scoliosis as assessed by radiographic imaging. By Noh et al.

PEDro Score: 4/10
Key Points:

  • This study aimed to assess the differential effects of a 3D corrective spinal technique  and a conventional 2D exercise program on various postural parameters including Cobb angle.
  • Thirty-two adolescents with AIS were randomized to one of two treatment programs that were 60 minutes long, 2-3 times a week, for 30 days. Results were measured using x-ray.
  • CST showed greater improvements in Cobb angle (p = 0.003), vertebral rotation (p = 0.000), and SRS-22 (self-image) scores compared to the controls.

Effects of the Schroth exercise on the Cobb’s angle and vital capacity of patients with idiopathic scoliosis that is an operative indication. By Kim et al.

PEDro Score: N/A
Key Points:

  • Five young adults with idiopathic scoliosis with a Cobb >40 degrees in thoracic spine and Risser score of 3 or higher were treated using Schroth method exercises 3 times a week for 12 weeks.
  • The results showed:
    • Thoracic trunk rotation angle decrease from 11.86 ± 3.32° to 4.90 ± 1.91° on average
    • Cobb’s angle decrease from 42.40 ± 7.86° to 26.00 ± 3.65° on average
    • Vital capacity increase from 2.83 ± 1.23 l to 4.04 ± 1.67 l on average

Effects of consecutive application of stretching, Schroth, and strengthening exercises on Cobb’s angle and the rib hump in an adult with idiopathic scoliosis. By Yang et al.

PEDro Score: N/A
Key Points:

  • A young adult female with idiopathic scoliosis and Cobb angle of 20.51° with back pain was treated using a multimodal approach including Schroth exercises for 8 weeks.
  • Her Cobb angle decreased from 20.51° to 16.35°, and her rib hump decreased from 15° to 9°, and her back pain using VAS scale decreased from 5 to 1.
  • This study, although weak, shows that consistency with stretching, Schroth, and strengthening exercises may help reduce Cobb angle, rib hump, and pain in adults with idiopathic scoliosis.