What is Scheuermann’s disease?
Scheuermann’s disease, also known as Scheuermann’s kyphosis, is a structural deformity that usually occurs in the mid back (thoracic spine).
It is named after the Danish radiologist who was the first to describe the condition.
It is not caused by prolonged postural problems, instead the condition occurs naturally in adolescents as they grow.
In a spine of someone without this disease the vertebrae are evenly shaped and stacked, however, vertebrae affected by this disease will grow at different rates. This results in wedge-shaped vertebrae.
Many sufferers have a loss of vertebral height and have an abnormal forward curve in the spine, creating the appearance of a “hump” or “round back”.
Symptoms of Scheuermann’s disease
This disease usually causes pain in and around the upper back. This can then lead to some restriction in range of movement especially when trying to bend backwards.
The pain can be made worse by activity especially in sports that require a lot of twisting, arching backwards or forceful bending such as athletic field events and gymnastics.
Symptoms usually develop between the ages of 10 and 15, while the bones are still growing.
The most common symptoms are: –
- Loss of flexibility
- Back pain
- Tight hamstrings
- Curvature of the spine (kyphosis)
- Physical activity and long periods of standing or sitting can aggravate the condition.
How can Chiropractic treatment help?
Your Chiropractor may use a type of spinal manipulation, called an adjustment to help improve joint flexibility. Manipulations and adjustments to the spine performed by an experienced Chiropractor can help to relieve tension, realign spinal segments and promote stability.
Chiropractic treatment is an active, hands-on treatment and there are several variations of this technique. The most common being: –
- Flexion-distraction technique – this is a gentle, non-thrusting spinal manipulation that is used for people with kyphosis that is associated with degenerative disc disease and/or motion restrictions in the mid back.
- Specific spinal manipulation – this helps your Chiropractor identify restricted joints or those that show abnormal movement. It is a gentle thrusting technique helping to return normal function to the spine.
- Instrument-assisted manipulation – this is another non-thrusting spinal technique. Your Chiropractor will use a hand-held instrument to apply force, to gently get the joints moving.
Your Chiropractor may use ultrasound to help ease any muscle spasms, stiffness and pain. It works by sending sound waves deep into the muscles, creating a gentle heat to aid circulation.
In addition, your Chiropractor may prescribe therapeutic exercises to help restore normal function to the spine.
Scheuermann’s disease is possible to live with without severe restrictions, as long as the pain and mobility issues are well managed.
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