Scheuermann’s disease | Chiro & Sports Med
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Scheuermann’s disease

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Scheuermann’s disease  is also know as Scheuermann’s Kyphosis. It is a structural deformity that occurs usually in the thoracic spine, but sometimes in the lumbar spine of adolescents between the age of 12 and 15. Many sufferers of the disorder have a loss of vertebral height, and depending on where the apex of the curve is, may have a visual ‘hunchback’ or ’roundback’.


Scheuermann’s disease usually causes pain in and around the thoracic spine. It can also lead to an increased thoracic or mid/upper back kyphosis (bend). This can then lead to some restriction in range of movement especially into extension (bending backward). The pain can be made worse by activity including sports that require a lot of twisting, or forceful bending or arching backward such as gymnastics, cricket or athletic field events.

Symptoms of Scheuermann’s disease typically develop between ages 10 and 15, while bones are still growing.

The most common symptoms of the condition are:

  • Fatigue.
  • Back pain.
  • Tight hamstrings.
  • Rigid curvature of the spine (kyphosis).
  • Loss of flexibility.
  • Slouching, or posture that gets worse over time.

In severe cases, Scheuermann’s disease can affect breathing or injure the spinal cord. The condition also might also increase the likelihood of developing arthritis of the back later in life.

Types of kyphosis

Postural kyphosis

  • This is the most common type of kyphosis and is often associated with slouching. It represents an exaggerated, but flexible, increase of the natural curve of the spine.
  • Becomes noticeable during adolescence. It is more common among girls than boys, which can cause pain or discomfort.
  • Doing exercises to strengthen the abdomen and stretch the hamstrings. This can help relieve associated discomfort and can result in significant correction of the postural kyphosis.

Scheuermann’s kyphosis

  • Scheuermann a Danish radiologist was the first to describe the condition.
    It becomes noticeable throughout the teen years; yet, patients with Scheuermann’s kyphosis have a much more severe deformity, particularly thin individuals.
  • Usually affects the upper (thoracic) spine. It can also occur in the lower (lumbar) back area. The sufferer may feel pain at the apex of the curve.
  • Physical activity and long periods of standing or sitting can cause aggravation.
  • Certain activity can intensify the pain, as can prolonged periods of sitting or standing.
  • Exercise and anti-inflammatory medication can help ease associated discomfort as well.
  • The vertebrae and discs of patients with Kyphosis will show up normal on the X-rays in individuals with postural kyphosis, however, they will be irregular and wedge-shaped in those with Scheuermann’s kyphosis.

Treatment for poor posture and round back

  • Chiropractic treatment is dependent upon the actual cause of the deformity.
    The posture of some patients with postural kyphosis may improve over time.
  • An initial program of conservative treatment by your chiropractor that involves manual therapy, exercises and anti-inflammatory medications (for discomfort) is advised for patients with Scheuermann’s kyphosis.
  • An exercise program may also be helpful to relieve any associated back pain.


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