The primary goal of the Schroth Method is to halt progression and reduce Cobb Angle. There is no foolproof way for practioners to determine whether scoliosis will get worse after diagnosis, predict whose curve will stabilize and whose curve will progress and to what degree of progression. Some curves do progress to a degree where spinal fusion is recommended. However, after spinal fusion therapy is still very critical to prevent the non-fused vertebral segments from slipping back into a scoliotic pattern if posture and movement still occur in the scoliotic pattern of movement. The patient must learn to break the cycle of the scoliotic movement pattern. These neuro-motor pathways of the scoliotic pattern are deeply embedded and are not suddenly corrected with the surgery. Therefore, it is critical that the patient learns specific exercises to achieve correct posture and to provide them with stability above and below the fused segments. These segments are often the segments that are now overloaded and take up the brunt of motion and load which of course can lead to painful symptoms.

Goals of Physical Therapy after Spinal Fusion

  • Increase awareness about the new posture and reduce the old scoliotic posture
  • Prevent the non-fused spinal segments from slipping back to the scoliotic pattern
  • Stabilization below and above the fusion with postural correction exercises
  • Integration of the fused spine in the postural alignment and in ADL’s
  • Reduction of anxiety and inhibition
  • Improvement of coordination and safety
  • Improved respiratory function and rib cage mobility
  • Global trunk stability, proprioception, balance and strength