Exercise for Scoliosis Joins Children’s Hospital

Scoliosis, a spine deformity characterized by side bends and rotations of the spine, is traditionally treated through observation, bracing, and surgery. Until now, exercise has never been viewed as a treatment option for scoliosis. Now, Dayton Children’s Hospital in Dayton, Ohio, has taken a ground-breaking step to include Scolio-Pilates, a three-dimensional exercise program for scoliosis, to their list of treatment options for their scoliosis patients. 

Scolio-Pilates is being used at the hospital in addition to the traditional phases of scoliosis treatment.  During the observation phase, Scolio-Pilates increases strength and awareness.  As opposed to what is normally a very passive phase of treatment, parents and children are given a proactive option.  During the bracing phase, Scolio-Pilates increases strength to better maintain the changes created by the brace. And if a child eventually needs surgery, then she will be stronger going into it. 

To prepare the physical therapy team at Dayton Children’s, the founder of Scolio-Pilates, Karena Thek, spent 180 hours one-on-one with the therapists and their patients to make the complex corrections comprehensible. “It’s important that each therapist understands the logic behind the changes that we are making so that they can approach any type of scoliosis and create the changes that need to take place.”

While Scolio-Pilates approaches scoliosis in terms of all its rotations and side bends, Karena includes additional layers to the approach. These layers include a deeper understanding of the relationship between scoliosis and connective tissue, breathing, and strength through the works of Leon Chaitow, Dinah Bradley, and Joseph Pilates, respectively. Karena states, “Scolio-Pilates stands on the shoulders of giants. We will continue to learn and grow by relying on the greatest science of our time.”  

In September 2017, the debut month for the Scolio-Pilates program at Dayton Children’s, Ann Smith, DPT, MS, PCS, director of physical therapy at Dayton Children’s, made the first public presentation of Scolio-Pilates at the hospital’s annual orthopedic symposium. She states that “The physical therapists and pediatricians from the community were incredibly receptive! It’s so rewarding to give a talk and see heads nodding in agreement!”  And with 80 Scolio-Pilates visits in their first month, their commitment to their children is clearly welcomed by the families they serve. In addition, Ann is kicking off Scolio-Pilates at Dayton Children’s with a one-year pilot study, followed by a 5-year longitudinal study to look at the effects of Scolio-Pilates. 

Four months after the program was initiated, Terry Wiegel, Director of Rehabilitative Services at Dayton Children’s, had this to say to Karena: “Thanks so much for bringing this to Dayton Children’s! It has been a huge success so far and has brought our staff tons of personal fulfillment! I have a friend who spent $6,000 to send her daughter to a week-long boot camp to battle scoliosis (which failed as she did not continue the exercises). I am going to suggest she try this over the summer.”

Are you ready to begin today? Whether you are someone living with scoliosis or a professional helping those with scoliosis, join our Scolio-Pilates On Demand here. You will have two weeks of free scoliosis-specific exercises with a live class every Thursday at 3 pm ET (New York, USA) and access to over 100 classes. Then, it’s time to take control. Be a Scolio-Mover!”

Looking for help for your own scoliosis curve?


Exercise for Scoliosis Joins Children’s Hospital