Scheuermann’s kyphosis, or Scheuermann’s disease, is a type of skeletal disorder that is most commonly found in teenagers. This condition causes vertebrae to grow unevenly, leading to a hunch in the patient’s back. Scheuermann’s kyphosis most commonly affects the 7th-10th vertebrae in the thoracic spine (middle back) and can range in degree of deformity from patient to patient. While the true cause of this condition is not fully understood, it is self-limiting, which means that once the bones have stopped growing, no further symptoms will be exhibited. Additionally, there are a number of treatments available that can limit the severity or progression of deformity.
Spinal abnormalities, like Scheuermann’s kyphosis, can affect a child’s quality of life. This disease causes the anterior (front) side of the spine to grow unevenly, which makes the vertebrae resemble a wedge in structure. Patients who have this condition cannot correct their posture on their own and may develop pain at the apex of their spine (the hunch). Usually, this condition is asymptomatic and is more aesthetically displeasing than anything, although in rare instances deformity may cause problems with the internal organs or spinal cord. The increased spinal curvature can cause premature aging of the spine. Other spinal conditions are more likely later in life if the condition is left untreated.
Scheuermann’s kyphosis is self-limiting and can normally be treated, or even corrected while the spine is still growing. Some of the ways the condition is treated include:
- Physical therapy
- Support braces
- Manual medicine
This condition also can be corrected with surgical procedures where titanium rods are installed in the spine and vertebrae are fused together. This is a highly invasive procedure, but has shown promising results for children with extreme Scheuermann’s kyphosis. For more information on the disease, its symptoms and the various treatments, visit your physician.