Scheuermann’s Disease

What is Scheuermann’s Disease?

Scheuermann’s disease or Scheuermann’s kyphosis is a growth condition where the normal curve in the upper spine is increased, forming a hunch back posture. This occurs when the front of the spine does not grow as fast as the back of the spine, causing the vertebrae to become wedge shaped. This eventually leads to an increase in the bend in your upper back called an increased kyphosis. Scheuermann’s disease is generally seen in people from the ages of 13-16. Scheuermann’s disease is primarily found in the thoracic spine (upper back), but can also been be found in the lumbar spine (lower back) although being less common.

Cause & Symptoms

The exact cause of Scheuermann’s disease is unknown, but it appears to have many factors contributing to it. Some of these factors include, juvenile osteoporosis, infection, malabsorption, endocrine disorders and biomechanical factors. It has also been seen to have a family tendency associated with it.

Along with the kyphotic posture there are also other symptoms associated with Scheuermann’s disease. People usually get pain in and around the thoracic spine, restrictions in range of motion especially into extension (bending backwards). This pain can be made worse by activities including sports that require a lot of twisting, forceful bending or arching backwards such as gymnastics and cricket.

Management of Scheuermann’s Disease

Scheuermann’s disease can be managed and is important to take an active approach to your treatment as long periods of rest can lead to further deconditioning. It is important to decrease pain levels, restore range of motion as much as possible, improve muscular control through movements and improve posture. It is possible to return to full activity and sports, this is completed by being progressed through specific exercises that improve functional strength and activity specific strength. In the long run it is important to maintain good flexibility in your back and to keep your core muscles strong to help ensure better posture and good control over your vertebra will all help to limit any future problems.

For most people the pain will eventually pass and will have no further trouble in their thoracic spine. Some people will have reduced range of motion and if the disease caused significant kyphosis can lead to ongoing postural issues.

If you or someone you know has Scheuermann’s disease come in and speak to one of our Exercise Physiologist who will help formulate an appropriate plan to get you back to exercise and sport and help to reduce future complications associated with Scheuermann’s disease.

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