And finally, we reach the lowest cervical vertebra: it’s easy to identify – if you run your hand down the back of your neck, the lump you feel at the bottom is C7. The bones start to change shape below this, and we hit T1 (the topmost Thoracic vertebra). The function and flexibility of the joints changes gradually too, as the Cervical vertebrae permit the most movement, but are therefore slightly less stable (which is why neck injuries can be so dangerous). We’re also heading towards the region of the spine where RSC braces can have some influence, but more of that in a later blog post
In this post, I’d like to talk about this thing called Schroth Therapy. Katerina Schroth was a German Physiotherapist who herself had scoliosis, and devised a system of exercises to help to stabilise or correct the curve. She was a pioneer in her field, and the basic principles of her system are widely used today.
Generally, the therapy is administered by Physiotherapists, but there are some Osteopaths and a few Chiropractors who have completed the rigorous training. It’s always worth checking if you go to a therapist to see which training centre they attended. Obviously, the system has evolved as more is discovered about the biomechanics of scoliosis, but there are only a few internationally recognised training schools in Europe. There are also derivations of the therapy which are effective, but whatever Youtube says, you CANNOT learn your exercises from a video! Each curve will need to be examined and assessed by an expert, and a specific exercise regime devised. An RSC brace is designed almost to act as an extra pair of hands to compliment the exercises, which is why they are made individually for each spine.
I won’t beat about the bush with this: the commitment to this sort of programme is significant – ideally you do your exercises once a day – this can take up to 45 minutes and therefore it means taking a considerable chunk out of your spare time.
But consider the prize: for many curves, there will be a noticeable arrest in the progression, especially if you have caught it early. You may even get away without having to wear a brace. Your therapist can help with pain management, and you will also get the additional benefit of improving what I call ‘spine health’ – you will become more flexible and stronger. This is a huge investment for your future and I cannot stress enough the importance of keeping up with a regime like this, and involvement and commitment from your family will really help.
I work very closely with Peter Roberts, an Osteopath who has undertaken extensive training – he has achieved some pretty impressive results and we communicate regularly to ensure that we are getting the best results. He is a gentle, patient practitioner and I deeply impressed by his approach.
In my last blog (C6) I was talking about the team at the Scoliosis Care Centre in The Netherlands: they are a specialist training centre for the Schroth Technique, and whilst they may have a slightly different approach to the way Peter works, both work well as they both have a refined ‘patient centred’ philosophy
You can find links to both Peter and Scoliosis Care Clinic at https://www.cymortho.co.uk/links/