Scoliotic Imbalances and Rotations
For at least fifty years, clinical studies of scoliosis frequently have reported paraspinal muscle imbalances of strength, diameter, length, fiber type, or electromyographic activity. They support the Schroth thesis that scoliosis always involves asymmetrical muscle groups in the back and elsewhere, which in normal bodies are more evenly symmetrical.
In a typical scoliotic configuration, depicted at right, back musculature pulls lower ribs so that the lumbar (abdominal) region rotates laterally, downwards, and backwards.
To maintain the torso's upright and forward orientation, the thoracic (chest) region must twist back in the opposite directions, and the cervical (neck) area responds with a third abnormal twist. Other imbalances are often present in the legs and feet. The resulting eccentric loads predispose the scoliosis to a vicious cycle of progression with unpredictable outcome.
In its effort to reverse the scoliotic spinal rotations, the Schroth method of scoliosis exercise therapy addresses all three planes -- sagittal, frontal, and transverse. This means that correction needs to occur not only from side to side and front to back, but also longitudinally: that is, the spine which has shortened because of rotation must also be lengthened. Hence the Schroth method's designation as "three-dimensional" therapy.