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Effect of specific exercises on the sagittal profile of scoliotic spines

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To evaluate the three-dimensional (3D) correction effect, particularly in the sagittal plane, of Schroth exercises [1, 2] in patients with idiopathic scoliosis (IS) by using a surface topography system.

Study design

A retrospective unselected series of fifty consecutive patients (48 females, age 15.7 years) diagnosed with IS, were measured with the formetric system [3] before and after an intensive course of rehabilitation. This system provides quantitative values to asses the spine in the frontal, sagittal and transversal planes. We have designed a specific scale based on objective data in order to define the vertebral column in the sagittal plane as harmonic (minimum score 0) or disharmonic (maximum score 20).


During the course of treatment, trunk imbalance improved from 11.6 to 8.1 mm (p < 0.001), and lateral deviation in the frontal plane decreased from 14.1 to 11.3 mm (p < 0.005). Surface rotation also decreased, from 7.4 degrees to 6.6 degrees (p < 0.01). Although maximum and regional sagittal angles decreased, the harmonic score improved from 10.4 to 9.6 (p < 0.05).


Scoliotic patients tend to keep their sagittal regional angles close to normal values but showing a disharmonic configuration. Schroth exercises can correct the spine in 3D, reducing such a disharmony.


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    Weiss HR: The effect of an exercise programme on VC and rib mobility in patients with IS. Spine. 1991, 16: 88-93. 10.1097/00007632-199101000-00016.

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    Weiss HR, Lohschmidt K, El-Obeidi N, Verres Ch: Preliminary results and worse-case analysis of in patient scoliosis rehabilitation. Pediatric Rehabilitation. 1997, 1: 35-40.

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    Asamoah V, Mellerowicz H, Venus J, Klöckner C: Measuring the surface of the back. Value in diagnosis of spinal diseases. Orthopade. 2000, 29: 480-489. 10.1007/s001320050486.

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Author information

Correspondence to M Rigo.

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Open Access This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Rigo, M., Quera-Salvá, G., Villagrasa, M. et al. Effect of specific exercises on the sagittal profile of scoliotic spines. Scoliosis 2, S7 (2007).

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  • Sagittal Plane
  • Frontal Plane
  • Idiopathic Scoliosis
  • Vertebral Column
  • Lateral Deviation