In February 2019, a scoliosis doctor recommended spine surgery to keep my
significant lumbar curve - 42 degree Cobb angle - from progressing. He said
that surgery would probably bring down my chronic low back pain that ranged
from 2-5 on a 10 point scale. But at 71 years of age, I instinctively knew that
surgery was not a sure thing.
At that point, I heard about the Schroth method of physical therapy for the first
time. I learned that this evidence-based method has been used throughout
the developed world for a 100 years to keep people off the operating table -
except for America. Crazy. And by God’s grace, I found Hagit! She was
certifying people from all over the world in Schroth, and she had a private
practice in NYC where I live.
I had ten foundational sessions with Hagit to learn the basics of a set of
Schroth exercises tailored to my curvature. She taught me about the basics
about scoliosis and my curvature, rotations, etc. She gave me exercises to do
each day to build on our sessions, with videos of each session to guide me
into proper form. The first week my pain began to decrease! And my body
began over time to look different - less leaning to the left, for example - as I
learned her very specific postural adjustments when I sit, stand and walk.
The deep breathing that is a key part of Schroth I found calming, and a
motivator to be as present in other areas of my life in a new way. And with
Hagit’s precise coaching, my brain is beginning to integrate and retain the
postural adjustments with less conscious effort. I now check in with Hagit
every couple of months to refine my exercises. In addition, with the help of a
Physical Therapist and Pilates instructor Hagit has trained, I am learning how
to adjust other fitness/strengthening exercises to my spine’s needs.
In September 2019, my follow up x-ray showed not the 1-2 degree increase in
curvature the doctor anticipated, but 1 degree straighter ! My pain level is
now often at 0. If I am not mindful of my postural adjustments, it will go up,
but only to a 2 max. The exhaustion I used to have with the chronic lower
back pain is totally gone. In summary, I have my active life back. :) I see
Schroth as a life-long addition to my life, with the surgery option closed.
I think Hagit’s work and my progress in less than a year is in “miracle"
category, and I will be forever grateful to have Hagit in my life! I should add
that she has a most wonderful way of working with a client … she is very
rigorous and precise, extraordinarily knowledgable about her craft (she does research also at Columbia University’s Spine Center, a first class ‘wonk’!) but
she is also gentle and kind. That’s an unusual & and awesome combination in my
Lourine Clark, NYC, retired Executive Coach, October 2019