Also called Scheuermann's Kyphosis, Scheuermann's Disease is a growth condition in which the normal curve of the spine in the upper back is increased. When the front aspect of the vertebral bones doesn’t grow as fast as the back of these bones, the vertebrae become wedge-shaped and this forms a hunched back which typically occurs in the thoracic spine.
Sometimes called Calvé disease and juvenile osteochondrosis, the number of terms used for the condition, named after the doctor who first described it, can be confusing. Sometimes the name ‘Scheuermann’ is incorrectly used for other conditions, such as ‘Juvenile discogenic disorder’ when there are changes in the disc spaces of the lumbar spine rather than the bones and joints of the thoracic spine.
What Causes Scheuermann's Disease?
Scheuermann's disease is not hereditary, nor gender or age specific (but more prevalent in young boys) and no absolute cause is known, but several factors are considered i.e. Juvenile osteoporosis; infection; malabsorption; endocrine disorders and biomechanical factors, including a shortened sternum.
What are the symptoms of Scheuermann's disease?
Scheuermann's disease is one that generally affects the young with symptoms that usually develop between the ages of 10 and 15 when the spine is growing rapidly. The following are usually experienced:
Serious damage is rare, but it’s not impossible for the spinal cord or internal organs to be harmed. If the lungs become compressed by a severe forward posture it could lead to breathing problems.
What is my best course of action?
Save yourself time and money by seeking advice from a registered Physiotherapist first. After diagnosing the condition, treatment typically starts by using various treatment modalities, such as soft tissue release, electrotherapy, dry needling and off-loading strapping to reduce the pain and inflammation.
During these relieving treatments, we also start to work on restoring and improving the control of the muscles involved in your back movements which will assist in attaining good posture. The muscle recruitment pattern and the appropriate exercises for your specific needs will be prescribed.
Your Physiotherapist will aim to restore optimal, pain-free function and minimize future dysfunction. Contact us for further advice and to make an appointment to set off on the road to resolution.
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