View Full Version : New here, but not to Scoliosis...., How I reduced my curvature by 50%....

04-16-2005, 03:14 PM
Hey everyone,

I'm afraid I have been lurking on here a while, before I actually got around to posting!!! :o

I guess a formal introduction would be useful: - My name is Erika, I'm 18 and come from Suffolk, UK.

And here is my story (it is written in the format of 3 articles; the first 2 have been published in Backbone Magazine (SAUK) and the 3rd is due for publication in there this May): -

Exercise Can & Does Help Scoliosis!!! - Part I
In 1997 around my 11th birthday my mother noticed a slight hump on my right shoulder when I bent forwards. We consulted our GP who dismissed it saying that he had seen a lot worse and not to worry. My mother consulted the Internet and thought maybe I had Marfan’s syndrome – she persuaded our GP to refer me to Dr Child, who said I had not got Marfan’s but scoliosis, which should be carefully monitored. It was not.
A year later and our local GP still would not believe that there was any urgency in my condition but mum went into action and we saw an orthopaedic surgeon. He said my Cobb angle was 34º and it was a case for immediate bracing. I wore a Boston brace for 2 years. He then said I should discontinue wearing it since I had stopped growing and if there was any sign of deterioration to return.
After a year mum said the hump was definitely bigger. She consulted back issues of Backbone and found a book of exercises written by Susan Swire. I wrote to Susan and she told me about the Katharina Schroth Klinik in Germany which specializes in physiotherapy treatment for spinal disorders but mainly scoliosis.
Unfortunately there is a 9-month waiting list for treatment at this huge German clinic. Through them we found that not just Germany, but in many countries throughout the continent, treatment based on the Schroth system is given together with bracing of a totally different type.

Before Dr Rigo accepted me as a patient I had to convince him that I am sufficiently self-motivated to not only overcome the language barrier but also to carry out his exercise regime for life.
When I entered his clinic I was filled with hope and optimism. Here was a man who was totally dedicated to the rehabilitation of Scoliotic patients. He cannot understand why Britain and America do not use the Katharina Schroth system. A lot of research has shown that rehabilitation does work.

I feel that this method of treatment should be the new way forward for treating all Scoliosis, whether large or small and that for anybody who wishes to avoid the trauma of an operation it is certainly worthwhile to investigate this tried, tested and non-invasive form of Scoliotic treatment that has proved to work for myself and many others of all ages.

Exercise Can & Does Help Scoliosis!!! - Part II
Many SAUK readers have contacted me wishing to know more about the treatment and from their response it is clear that there is great interest in this method. I was very pleased that our progressive editors have published an article by Dr Weiss, head of the Schroth Klinik in Germany (SAUK No. 68) and to read the success story by Geoffrey and Anna Walker. It underlines the fact that there are alternative methods of treatment and it is good to know that SAUK is helping to keep us informed.

I revisited Dr Rigo’s clinic this summer for a check-up and adjustment to my exercise regime. During my 1st session of rehabilitacion treatment (Summer 2002) I halved my curve from 42 degrees to 21 degrees. When Dr Rigo re-measured me this Summer 2003 I was comfortably reassured to hear him say that my correction had been maintained and my hard work and diligence in doing the exercises had been repaid. (See My Website (http://www.erikamaude.com) for photos to substantiate these measurements.)

I believe that I am living proof that the Katharina Schroth method works and is a viable alternative for people wishing to avoid an operation.
No curve is too big or too small and no person too old to be treated successfully with rehabilitacion. For example I met at the clinic a woman who had a very severe curvature and who had been told her scoliosis was beyond being treated with an operation. Prior to her treatment with Dr Rigo she was unable to carry out simple day-to-day tasks, work or travel alone. Having received the treatment and by doing extensive exercises she is now able to lead a normal life, work, travel alone and is improving all the time. Last year I shared a class with a 28 yr old who had a severe lumbar curve and this improved noticeably after 4 weeks of intensive training. 18 adolescent girls and boys were also there for the 4-week course and they all showed significant improvement by the end of the course.

It must be emphasized that rehabilitacion requires discipline and self-motivation. There can be no lasting benefit without diligent regular practise. It can only help those who are prepared to help themselves. It was all very well my mother arranging to take me to the clinic but it would have been a complete waste of time, money and effort on everybody’s part had I not put in my share of the work which involves getting up half an hour earlier to do my exercises. No one can make you do this and no one can do it for you. It has to come from your own desire to succeed.

I would love to hear from anyone who is interested in exploring alternative routes for treating scoliosis or who have success stories of their own.

Exercise Can & Does Help Scoliosis!!! - Part III
Living Proof
Having reduced my curve from 42 – 21 degrees and having maintained that improvement for 3 years now I believe at 18 years old I am living proof that rehabilitation based on the Katharina Schroth method does work. My back is straight and strong. My own experience and that of others proves that a personal exercise plan carried out regularly and conscientiously is a successful alternative to the operation. Indeed rehabilitation is the treatment of choice in several European countries.

Dr Rigo has assured me that if I continue with my present exercise regime my curve will not increase and I will never need the operation.

Following the publication of my first article in Backbone no 67 I received so many emails that answering them was interfering with school work so I decided that the answer was to build a website and at the same time to incorporate details of various treatment methods both conventional and alternative that have worked for others as well as FAQs about rehabilitation treatment. This has been a huge success I now receive 400 unique visitors per month and frequently receive emails complimenting me on the comprehensive coverage of Scoliosis on my site. However the downside is when I visited Dr Rigo last autumn he asked me to stop giving out details of his clinic because he simply cannot treat more patients.

As I walked down the Del Portal de L’Angel eating my sorbet that evening I felt so sorry for all those people who would not be able to have the treatment. Then I had an idea. I would open a clinic in England to teach others the exercises based on the Katharina Schroth method! Back in the hotel later that evening I told my parents my plan and that I also want to eventually help people who are financially disadvantaged to have this treatment too. They were very enthusiastic and 100% behind me. Next day I shyly asked Dr Rigo what he thought of the possibility of my opening a clinic like his in England. He told me that if anyone could do it successfully it was myself and with characteristic generosity he promised to personally train the staff and give all the technical assistance and expertise necessary.

For more information see www.erikamaude.com

Erika Maude
www.erikamaude.com (http://www.erikamaude.com)

PS. Big apologies for the length of this post, I just hope it helps other Scoliosis peeps out there who want to avoid the operation as much as I did!!!

PPS. I have also posted this in the adults' section because I feel it fits in both. :)

05-09-2005, 01:05 PM
Hi Erika,

Have you ever heard of the Scoliosis Treatment Advanced Recovery System (STARS)? They are based out of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. From what I have read so far, they use a combination of Muscle Stimulation Therapy, three phase excercise program, ocular/vestibular therapy (addresses upper motor neuron imbalances), nutritional/hormonal support and wearing of Copes Brace. Does this sound at all similar to your treatment??? My 14 year old son has a curve of 44 upper/42 lower (that was at last x-ray in March). I am hoping to find an alternative to surgery and would like any input that will help us. I am happy that your treatment worked for you.....
Take care,

05-09-2005, 01:59 PM

Check this out:


05-10-2005, 12:54 PM
I appreciate you directing me to the forum by Copes patients. Just 2 days ago I received an information packet from the Copes Treatment Center in Baton Rouge, LA and was about to gather my son's x-rays & $250.00 to send for evaluation. However, for the meantime I will hold on to both and keep on searching.
Thank you so much,

05-26-2005, 12:26 PM
No, STARS is a completely different program - however, from what I have heard it is not that successful and is very expensive. I have yet to find somebody who has completed ths course and been pleased with the results...

05-26-2005, 01:06 PM
Hi erika,
There's a query in hospital/physicain feedback forum about Schroth from a Uk member.Can you offer any info?

06-02-2005, 05:43 PM
I am afraid I cannot really help at this moment in time.

All I know is that the language is a real problem for English-speaking patients, both at the Barcelona clinic (where I went) and in Germany (as I have spoken to somebody recently who went there). Because of the language barrier faced by foreign patients at these two clinics, as you know I am in the process of opening a clinic in the UK offering the same treatment for English-speaking patients, which I hope will be up and running by the end of the year.

This clinic will operate along the same lines as those in Spain and Germany. With the UK clinic staff receiving training from the existing clinics and will be run with help from the medical directors of both clinics, with whom I am in close contact.

If you would like to be kept informed about the progress of the UK clinic, please post your support at http://www.erikamaude.com/scoliosis_ukclinic.htm.

Best wishes,


PS: I have also posted this message in the topic under physician/hospital feedback. EM