I am a 30 y/o physical therapist living with scoliosis. I was diagnosed with scoliosis in elementary school. I wore the Charleston bending brace followed by the Boston TLSO with some curve correction as an adolescent. As an adult practicing as a physical therapist, I found myself with frequent headaches, but little to no back pain as long as I stayed active. I did have discomfort with sitting on most hard surfaces. I was starting to realize that although I was told my treatment ended when I stopped growing, there was something else that I needed to be doing. I was finding it difficult to not have all the answers for both my adult scoliosis patients and myself who were often told there wasn't much that could be done. I looked into the Schroth method which lead me to Beatriz. I appreciated that she was also both a physical therapist and patient and was encouraged by her story.
I took a trip out to beautiful Palo Alto and started my training as both a patient and physical therapist. Although overwhelmed with information my first day or two, things started to make a little more sense as I could feel the corrections. Beatriz was a great instructor for me as a patient and learning as a therapist. She really emphasized implementing the corrections into everything we do and would capture a photo of me back into my scoliotic posture when I would forget.
I felt really good leaving and immediately noticed the difference in my buttock on the 4 hour plane ride back compared to the ride out to CA. I was worried the corrections would be lost somewhere along the ride, but incorporating them in my daily life has made them become more concrete. I still catch myself slip, but can immediately correct. I am very happy to say that in 6 weeks (following the course) I have had 1 tension HA.
Regarding implementation into my patient care, I came back ready to teach 8 willing participants (patients) of ages ranging from 12-78. I have been able to take Beatriz's lessons and instruct my patient's in their particular curvature based on Schroth classification. I'm learning everyday from my patients and myself and feel I wouldn't have been able to without the instruction I received from Beatriz.
I would recommend Beatriz as an instructor for both the individual with scoliosis and a physical therapist looking for a proactive treatment approach for their scoliosis patients.
Ashley Pittman, PT
Schroth certified physical therapist
I self-diagnosed with scoliosis at age 32 and began researching conservative treatment options. This is how I learned of the Schroth Method. Beatriz is the only Schroth-trained physical therapist in the Bay Area, and I traveled 2 hours to see her. It was immediately evident that she is extremely knowledgeable, not just about scoliosis, but the entire body (all too often doctors and PTs will focus only on a specific area, failing to treat the body as a whole system). She was able to identify the curvature in my spine and began applying subtle movements to de-rotate and lengthen my spine. I will never forget how I felt after the first treatment session. For 32 years, my spine had been twisted and now, for the first time, it had been unwound, properly. My body finally felt “correct” and that night I slept very well. The exercises can be challenging, but Beatriz has always worked with me to make sure I am doing them correctly. I keep up with my home program to continue the progress, and check in with her periodically to make sure I am doing them correctly. The most valuable lesson I have learned is knowing the exact movements I need to do (“de-rotate”, “lengthen”, “side-shift”) to correct my posture. It is not often one comes across a treatment provider who is so knowledgeable and passionate. Working with Beatriz and learning the Schroth Method has been a life-changing experience.
I was in excruciating pain working as a management consultant. At 25 years old, I didn’t know how I could possibly work another day in my life. I started living a progressively more yogic lifestyle when my pain became too much to bear. A former ballerina, yoga has always been something I have been called to. I also trained with a pilates instructor privately with the reformer machines twice a week for six years. Over time, I became a certified yoga teacher (200 hr). I practiced yoga asanas (the physical postures) every day in a class setting.
Although it felt great to do the poses (a former dancer, I love anything that stretches me out!), I would leave class in pain. Everyone said this was normal- I’m just strengthening the weak muscles. Yoga still means so much to me, but a normal yoga class is not for my spine. I have learned to accept that over time. I wrote about using yoga to create new habits.
Yoga was not designed for spinal deformities. As painful as it is to admit, I went from having a 5 degree curve in my back to thirty degrees (with a twenty degree compensensary curve). Of course, this is not just from yoga, but from living a life that did not take in account what postures and activities would help my scoliosis. You can read so much or hear from a doctor about what is good versus bad, but until you really learn deeply about YOUR own spine, and what will help YOU, it will be impossible to reverse the damaging effects of scoliosis.
Scoliosis is something I always pushed to the back of my mind until the pain increased to take over my life. It’s something that people minimize- doctors always told me to just “keep an eye on it”. What I’ve learned from Beatriz is that activities of daily living (ADL), the way you move (or the positions you are in while not moving), are incredibly crucial to managing your scoliosis.
Beatriz is supportive, understanding, empathetic, and incredibly knowledgeable and well-trained. She really knows how to help you as an individual.
It was really hard for me to stop my behaviors that were causing me pain. I really enjoyed certain activities for the uplifting spiritual and community aspects. What I’ve discovered is that Beatriz is an incredible asset to me, who seeks out a gentle, nourishing, spiritually-rich life. She incorporates meditation into our sessions. She teaches you how to notice your body all of the time – if you really work hard outside of your sessions with her, meditate, journal, reflect on what is happening inside your body, you will develop such a deep level of self-awareness that is truly empowering and life-changing.
I have spent so much money on seeking out medical professionals for advice on how to help me get out of pain. I was sent to normal PT by a notable spine specialist. Normal PT really aggravated my back and caused even more pain. You will learn with Beatriz exactly why that is- you simply can’t perform exercises on one side that will just negate the benefits of the exercises you performed on the side that actually needs it.
I stumbled upon the schroth method thanks to the Internet. Finding Beatriz was a Godsend. Fort he first time in my entire life (or since I can remember), I do not have pain or discomfort in my back. Of course, it has been a challenging journey full of hard work. It is not fun (at first) to admit you have a spinal deformity and work on your own imbalances in front of a mirror. It would be easier to just arrive at a class with other people with normal spines and just work out with them! But yoga helped me realize that my body is different and needs to re-learn how to move.
I took a 20 hour Yoga for Scoliosis teacher training. I learned tools for my yoga toolbox, but it did not help me understand my own case of scoliosis, which is different from everyone else’s case. Nothing replaces working with a schroth therapist one on one. I still found myself leaving in pain everyday, because there are certain postures which I should NEVER do, but a yoga teacher might recommend for scoliosis.
I have come, over time, through my own experience with my daily yoga practice, to realize that the schroth method should be taken seriously and if a schroth expert tells you to avoid a particular spinal position, you should avoid it. Beatriz teaches me incredibly subtle adjustments to make in my own body that make a world of difference. There are so many things I CAN do that Beatriz encourages me to do! Perhaps after you work through the schroth method (a daily practice!) you will be able to create a yoga practice that works for your spine. But I recommend schroth training before any other sort of physical training.
Beatriz is amazing and will support you on your journey to wellness. I couldn’t recommend her more highly. I am happy to talk about my experience with scoliosis (and yoga!) if you are hesitant about going to Beatriz. I wish you all the best!
I’ve had trouble with my scoliosis since childhood, and have spent many thousands of dollars throughout my adulthood trying to get some help. After being hurt four times by chiropractors, I learned to fear and avoid them. I found physical therapy somewhat helpful, but I felt I was treading water by strengthening some muscles, but often creating additional problems.
It wasn’t until I saw Beatriz Torres that I got some truly transformational knowledge about my scoliosis, and she helped me to put that knowledge into action with exercises that are tailored specifically to my body. Now that I have an effective daily exercise routine, and the only time I’m bothered by my scoliosis is when I skip the exercises (it didn’t take me long to learn not to do that!).
It’s amazing how your confidence builds when you finally feel in control of your posture and daily movement. Beatriz is a great communicator and teacher – I call her my Guru. Because of her, I’ve learned to be very objective about my body, and am absolutely sure that I can gradually improve it so that I can enjoy the next few decades of my life without being disabled in my old age.
If I’d been told I could really understand and control my scoliosis before I saw Beatriz, I never would have believed it was possible! If you think you have to just settle for what nature gave you, see Beatriz first – it’s never too late!
~ Bee H., age 67
Hi Ms. Torres,
It has been a year since I had my sessions with you. I have been doing the exercises and stretches that we worked on, as well as incorporating all the carriage, posture, ergonomic and lifestyle adjustments that we noted and implemented. From then to now I have had no lower back pain or nerve pain at all.
Thank you and God bless you.
Following the discovery of our daughter’s scoliosis we were fortunate enough to come into contact with Beatriz Torres. After consulting with various orthopedic surgeons, we were told that our daughter was on the borderline of needing surgery and that time was on our side until the curves increased. We took the opportunity to explore a conservative approach to treating scoliosis. Surgery is always an option but also an option with the greatest risk. The next step was finding a health professional that understood scoliosis and how to treat it conservatively.
Beatriz is that rare commodity that has a deep understanding of biomechanics and is trained in the Schroth method, a method of physical therapy devoted solely to the treatment of scoliosis. Beatriz is an incredible physiotherapist. She not only treats the patient but teaches the patient (and parents) how to develop a lifelong regimen specifically designed to treat and cope with the effects of scoliosis.
Thanks to Beatriz, our daughter is now able to understand how different physical activities affect her spine and what she needs to do to try to mitigate the increase of the curve(s). My daughter continues her passions of swimming and cycling without any negative repercussions.
Thank you, Beatriz!
Chris and Jackie San Diego, CA
I wanted to write about my experiences with scoliosis and working with Beatriz Torres because I want more people to know that they can find help.
As a teen I was treated for idiopathic scoliosis with a Milwaukee brace which I wore for close to two years. I did not receive any other treatment or recommendations after that, and the brace did not completely correct my scoliosis.
I had relatively minor back problems through my twenties and thirties, although I frequently had fatigue, tight muscles and lower back pain. I always had image and confidence issues and compensated by dressing and moving so my scoliosis was less noticeable.
Most of my pain and tension increased through my forties, and I became aware that my scoliosis was getting worse, especially rotations of my hips and ribcage. When I sought out help doctors repeatedly told me that scoliosis did not progress, and nothing could be done for me anyway, short of surgery. They advised me to just stay active and fit- hard to do when moving is increasingly painful!
I did get some help from Chiropractors and physical therapists who helped keep my spine moving as much as possible, but I found that I would often get injured trying to do standard p.t. back exercises and stretches. Intuitively I knew that I could influence my spinal curves through moving certain ways, worse or better depending on my stance, position, and strength, and kept looking for an approach that took scoliosis into account.
On a random internet search for answers I came across Beatriz Torres' web site describing the Schroth techniques and her knowledge in using them in her physical therapy practice. I was impressed by her experience both as a practitioner and as a patient using the techniques for her own scoliosis. In August 2008 I met with Beatriz and began a two week long Schroth therapy program, meeting daily, and have continued working with her once every few weeks since then.
With Beatriz I am learning movements to counteract the muscle imbalances from my curves and rotations, and to open a powerful network of change using the "derotating" movements, breathing and guided imagery. As it is explained, the goal is to stretch what is tight, strengthen what is weak, lengthen what is shortened, overall striving to rebalance areas of the body and to relearn and hold a corrected posture. Beatriz achieves this through her expert guidance, accuracy and her highly developed powers of observation.
I first noticed changes in the way I looked; I lost my shoulder "wings", and my ribs did not stick out as much in the back. I feel more upright, and certainly stronger than I have in at least 15 years. I continue to notice subtle improvements as I am able to do more stretches and exercises. Meant to be applied at home, the techniques use many simple tools like exercise bands and corrective pillows. Beatriz has shown me how to adapt gym exercises and other p.t. techniques to the Schroth form which helps me the most.
Having the professional guidance of Beatriz Torres has allowed me to understand where my body needs to be, to reeducate myself physically in all aspects of living - standing, sitting, walking, even sleeping. Beatriz and the Schroth therapy teach the importance not only of building strength but the need for elongating and decompressing the spine.
I would recommend Beatriz Torres and her knowledge of Schroth techniques to anyone young or old who wants to improve their scoliosis and their lives. For me at 53, Beatriz' therapy does not promise a cure, but a way of coping, of managing life with scoliosis, a way to self- help. The experience has restored a lot of my confidence and has made me realize that I need to continue this commitment for the rest of my life, which is a lot better than just waiting to get worse!
I give permission to Beatriz Torres to use this letter in any form for her research or presentations.
Lisa J. Kurasch
I originally received Beatriz Torres's name from Mrs. Christa Lehnert-Schroth as a contact person for the Schroth Method in the US. After contacting her for some information about this method, Beatriz has been extremely helpful and gracious in offering her support and advice to me on a regular bases. She has increasingly helped me to integrate aspects of the Schroth method into the treatment of my scoliosis patients. She has also offered valuable educational information about this approach and has guided me through this process with great insight and patience. In summary, her support and mentorship has greatly refined my ability to examine and guide my clients as well as improve the outcome of my treatment sessions.
Beatriz is clearly a highly knowledgeable and passionate therapist as well as an inspiring teacher and advocate.
A statement received from a patient:
I am a fifteen year old girl with scoliosis. For two years now I have worn a SpineCor for my 33-degree lumbar and 42-degree thoracic curves. Besides wearing a brace, I've tried yoga, dance, Pilates and physical therapy exercises, all which make my back feel good, but they leave no lasting result. About a month ago, I began learning about and practicing the Schroth Method . Even in this short period of time, my body has begun to show positive changes. My spine feels more stretched and elongated, which is what I believe caused me to grow a quarter of and inch in height. The vertebrae at the base of my neck that used to protrude are improving and moving into alignment with the rest of my spine. Also, the concave, weak areas in my back are growing stronger, allowing the convex, over-worked areas to relax a little. This has allowed my shoulder blade that used to stick or wing out to lie flatter against my ribs. So far, my back is nowhere near perfect, but I feel that by continuing with this technique I will be able to get further improvements.
I like the Schroth Method because it makes intuitive sense to me and it makes me feel like I have some control over my scoliosis.
Thank you for imparting the gift of the Schroth to us; it has already made a life-altering difference to our lives, most especially because of the wonderful time we spend with you! Kirsti is delighted and thankful to have a methodology where she herself can take charge of her body and its growth, and I am immensely thankful for not only the wise training you shared with us but also your wisdom on so many other fronts!
We feel nurtured, refreshed, recharged and revitalized.
Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Dede - Mother
Dear Bea, I was very fortunate that my daughter, Miranda introduced me to you. I feel that the Schroth method will - at the very least - keep me from getting worse, and - at my very best - help me make permanent changes in my posture. I have been quite successful in sleeping on the left side and have found a pillow which seems to work well with the night pain that I have in my left hip area. I have been doing the exercises with the poles. The most important thing I think is that I've become very aware of my posture and correct it as often as I can during the day. Both my massage therapist and my internist are very interested in the Schroth method, so I will print out some materials from the internet for them.
My internist said she was very glad that I had found you!
Missy (71 years old )
As a male scoliotic looking for relief in my 50s, current standard medical conventions offered me no hope. Chiropractors had modest, short-term success with my back pain, but I could tell they didn't understand how to treat my problem, which came roaring back after a move (lifting heavy boxes). A prominent M.D. orthopedist said, "There's nothing we can do," when she saw my X-rays.
But Beatriz Torres did an examination of my body and prescribed a couple simple exercises that solved my primary pain problem permanently, as long as I conscientiously do the exercises. She later solved a secondary pain problem by analyzing and modifying my un-ergonomic work environment. The Schroth physical therapy method seems to be the most successful noninvasive treatment for scoliosis, and Beatriz Torres clearly understands how to administer it effectively.
Doug, age 62
I had back pain from my scoliosis since I was a child, and every doctor I went to suggested things like wearing a brace or possibly surgery, which I did not want to do. Then, when I was about 15, my mom got a recommendation from someone to go to Beatriz. In only one session, she taught me enough to eliminate my pain from that day on. Or at least, when I do get pain now, I have the tools to fix it instead of helplessly waiting for it to pass.
She truly changed my life and she is the best doctor I've ever had because she actually understands what it is like to have scoliosis and how to deal with it just by making changes to your lifestyle. She also made me feel confident by telling me that scoliosis cannot stop me from doing the activities I like, and showing me how to walk with good posture "like a model," which meant a lot for a young teenage girl. I came back to see her again this year, at age 21, to refresh on all that she had taught me, and it was very helpful once again. Thank you Beatriz!