Scheurmann’s disease is a condition that results in the sufferer having a rounded or ‘hunched’ back. It is a developmental disorder that can cause the sufferer to walk with a stoop and does not correct itself when lying on the back.
Affecting up to 8% of the general population, and being more common in boys than girls, Scheurmann’s disease occurs mainly in the thoracic or middle region of the spine. It presents usually during adolescence and is caused by growth irregularities of the spinal vertebrae. As the vertebra are developing, a condition called osteochondrosis causes the front and back parts of the vertebrae to grow at different speeds. This results in the vertebrae or spine developing into wedge shapes.
Characteristic stoop in the mid-back, but severity varies from person to person and can be very slight or more noticeable. Sufferers do not initially suffer with a great deal of pain, but can have some discomfort. Later in life, disc degeneration can make the situation worse and lead to pain and arthritis.
Scheurmann’s kyphosis is a developmental disorder that is usually diagnosed in teenagers.
Your Osteopath should be able to diagnose this condition on sight and palpation alone but an X-ray can confirm his findings.
Treatment varies with the severity or level of disability. Young patients can be managed with specific exercise and “keeping an eye” on the condition.
Surgery is rarely used to help this condition as other methods are usually successful. The type of surgery offered is called a spinal fusion, where two segments of bone are fused together with the use of rods, cages and screws. Surgery is usually only used when the curvature is very severe.
Later in life your Osteopath may need to see you more often as the remote effects of the condition lead to other spinal problems.
Consult your Osteopath for further information as this condition is very individual to the sufferer as is the treatment and management!