View Full Version : Active Correction by Sideshift Exercises as described by Min Mehta

Ballet Mom
01-03-2011, 12:35 PM
It appears that the information that used to be found on the internet about the side-shift exercises as described by Min Mehta for scoliosis patients has disappeared, or has become too difficult to find. Therefore, I am going to place some excerpts with the basics here, so this exercise won't become lost to the American scoliosis world. (I say American because I think side-shift exercises are a major part of European methods such as SEAS).

Side-shift can be used during the wait and watch period, during treatment (during time out of the brace), and to stop adult progression also.

MH Mehta, MD

The realization that the frequent repetition of this maneuver by itself can stabilize and even correct an early idiopathic scoliosis came about by chance when, with the intention of improving her appearance, I recommended the side-shift to a girl of 15 with a 28* thoracolumbar curve and Risser grade 4. She returned six months later with a curve of 23* and has maintained that improvement over a four year follow-up period.

(Two girls mentioned in the study had 15* and 20* curves demanded early treatment and due to diligence with the technique managed to correct and overcorrect (to zero and -3 degrees) their curves within six months time, the over-corrected girl was told to stop the exercises).

The side-shift is taught in the clinic and is easily learned. Most children become adept in a matter of seconds with the aid of visual feeback provided by a full-length mirror, and gentle fingertip pressure applied laterally to the convex side of the rib cage and the contralateral hip. The child is taught to shift the trunk away from the curve convexity as far as the spine will allow, to hold this position for about ten seconds and then relax into the rest position. The mirror enables the child to see that in returning to the habitual posture her body slumps passively into the position of deformity....she is required to perform the shift repeatedly through the day, standing or sitting, and to acquire the habit of "thinking shift". Children with a marked lumbar lordosis are instructed first to obliterate the lordosis by reverse pelvic tilt and then to shift sideways. Most children find the best times for concentrated periods of active side-shift are while watching television, doing homework, or sitting at school....the requirement to shift frequently through the day, every day.

Since there are no absolute criteria for discriminating at an early stage between progressive and nonprogressive scoliosis, the decision to start treatment is deferred until a curve has been seen to increase to an arbitrary limit. Experience has shown that, in general, a curve is contained at the level at which treatment is started and that any correction obtained during treatment is lost after it is discontinued. Michel therefore recommends that "to obtain a reliable stable curve of less than 30 degrees in adulthood it is necessary to undertake treatment of a curve of less than 30 degrees.

The size of the curve, the curve pattern, and the degree of compliance with treatment all contribute to the outcome of treatment by the side-shift or any other method. Thoracolumbar and low thoracic curves respond best to the side-shift, lumbar curves less so. For the right thoracic/left lumbar pattern the side-shift away from the thoracic curve convexity is used. Although in theory this should aggravate the lumbar curve, in practice both curves are equally contained.

Correction and even overcorrection can be obtained when all three conditions are favorable.

The side-shift has the advantage over other methods that it can be used as maintenance therapy to prevent progression in adult life. Five girls who are now skeletally mature (Risser 5) are maintaining their curves constant by a brief period of 15-30 minutes of side-shift daily.

01-03-2011, 08:05 PM
I have 14 detailed pages from this chapter (with pictures and xrays) which come from a book written by Min Mehta. They are scanned copies and the file size is too large to upload here.

These pages were gifted to me by a fellow forum member who received them from Martha Hawes. Happy to share with anyone who would like them - just send me a PM and I'll get them to you.

Ballet Mom
01-03-2011, 10:14 PM
You're a gem, mamamax! :-)