Scheuermann’s disease, named after Holger Scheurmann, is in my view mis-represented. It is not really a disease as such and often causes more alarm and concern than is necessary.
Hi, this is Dr. Andrew Arnold, Chiropractor, Cranbourne Family Chiropractic and Wellness Ctr.
Scheuermann’s is more a syndrome, a collection of signs and symptoms that greatly vary from person to person.
The purpose of my blog is not to get stuck in the physiology and too much detail but more provide a balanced, clinical over view of how I have seen and managed this in my 25 years in practice.
Firstly, let me explain. I like to order full spine x-rays of as many patients as possible including teens from around 14 yrs. up. My Chiropractic colleagues may argue the justification for this but that’s for another discussion. I recommend a full spine approximately every 7-10 years unless clinically indicated in between.
Over the years I have literally seen thousands of spines and interestingly Scheuermann’s is not that prevalent. On average I see radiological evidence as reported by a radiologist, about 1x mth.
So, let’s talk about what it actually is.
Basically, the vertebrae grow unevenly, producing dips and shallows. This may cause the vertebrae to become wedged, particularly the lower thoracic, leading to a hunched posture.
It develops during the growing years and during this time may cause pain, stiffness and a postural concern. Teens may also develop a self-manipulating or cracking habit to try and deal with the pain.
Once the growing years are over most are left with a hunch, forward head posture, sway back and stiffness.
Extreme postural distortion may even impact breathing.
As for cause, no one really knows. We think genetic, maybe even related to a condition called Marfans.
Diagnosis is best on x-ray and in my experience, early detection is the key to successful management in later life.
Treatment includes Chiropractic spinal manipulation either manually or using precise adjusting tools like the Neuro-mechanical Adjusting Instrument or Activator.
In addition, posture correction aids like the Posture Medic and Posture Pole along with posture correction exercises are important.
In later life the goal is maintain mobility which can be challenging. From time to time my older Scheuermann patients complain of acute spasm due to the chronic immobility in their lower spines.
So, if your teenager is complaining about an achy, stiff spine and trying to stretch and crack to get relief it’s worth visiting your local Chiro and getting an x-ray done.
For more information drop me a comment or call me at my practice on 59984554.
About the Author:
Andrew is married to Dr. Linda Wilson, the Stress Specialist and has two children, Isaac and Bella. He lives in Melbourne, Australia.