Dedicated to the education of physical therapy professionals for safe and effective treatment of scoliosis.
Although scoliosis is often described as lateral curvature of the spine, it is now recognized and generally accepted to be a three-dimensional, asymmetrical spinal dysfunction.
Rehabilitation for scoliosis goes back to the time of Hippocrates who first described scoliosis and recommended treatment. Many methods for curve balancing and reduction have been tried since then, including use of various mechanical devices, exercises and bracing.
In the 1920’s in Germany, Katherina Schroth and later her daughter, Krista Schroth-Lehnert, significantly advanced rehabilitation for scoliosis. Their work emphasized not only comprehensive musculoskeletal rebalancing, but a strong recognition of the vital role of the respiratory and neurological systems. Their work also inspired the development of other scoliosis specific rehabilitation techniques across Europe. In 2004, the international Society on Scoliosis Orthopaedic and Rehabilitation Treatment (SOSORT) was created to support and research conservative treatment options for people with scoliosis.
Here in the US, there was minimal awareness of these global developments until the mid 2000’s. However, Ron Hruska, PT and Founder of the Postural Restoration Institute©, was at work during the 1990’s envisioning a tri-planar, asymmetrical, biomechanical framework of human function driven by the nervous and respiratory systems.
Our interest in treatment of biomechanical dysfunction using 3D asymmetric principles began in the early 2000’s. It was through the Postural Restoration framework that we began seeing the efficacy of treating the body as an integrated whole with a strong appreciation for the powerful influences exerted by the neurological and respiratory systems. This perspective and these techniques were transformative for many patients with various diagnoses, including patients with scoliosis. We became increasingly interested in this population because of the tri-planar, asymmetrical nature of scoliosis.
In 2013, we enrolled in the Barcelona Scoliosis Physical Therapy School (BSPTS) certification program, to enhance our skills with this population. We were struck by the congruency of these two Methodologies: Schroth and Postural Restoration, developed independently in far corners of the world. This experience and our follow up work in the advanced BSPTS C2 course helped us refine specific techniques for working with people with scoliosis. Attendance at multiple SOSORT conferences has continued to widen and deepen our understanding.
In 2017, we were invited to write a peer reviewed chapter for the INTECH book, “Innovations in Spinal Dysfunction and Postural Disorders”. In that chapter we describe the comprehensive, integrated framework of Postural Restoration for working with scoliosis and other spinal dysfunctions. We also lecture about scoliosis at the yearly Advanced Integration course hosted by the Postural Restoration Institute.
This course was created because of the many patients who have come to us following unsuccessful physical therapy interventions elsewhere. It is in the interest of our patients that a basic understanding of 3D asymmetry and how to translate that understanding into treatment is made available for any therapists working with this population. This is an introductory course. We encourage all to further your knowledge and skills by taking other courses offered by the Postural Restoration Institute or by other physical therapy scoliosis specific rehabilitation techniques.
Molly Miller has worked at Advance Physical Therapy, a Postural Restoration Certified clinic, located in Chapel Hill, NC since 2018. She received her Doctor of Physical Therapy from UNC Chapel Hill in 2017 and holds bachelor’s degrees in both Psychology and Exercise and Sport Science.