Scheuermann's Disease

Scheuermann's Disease

Scheuermann's Disease is a hereditary disease that mainly affects growing boys. It is the most common postural abnormality of the spine in the younger athlete. Children complain of acute pain in the upper back and in later years the upper spine (thoracic) may become more rounded.

Symptoms of Scheuermann's Disease

The patient may experience upper and middle back pain, usually between the ages of 13 and 16. The upper spine becoming more rounded (called kyphosis) and there may be compensatory excessive lumbar lordosis or an increased curve in the lower back

Causes of Scheuermann's disease

Scheuermann's disease is one of a group of Osteochondroses. These are a defect in the bone on development. This defect may occur in just a few of the thoracic vertebrae or may affect the entire segment. Scheuermann's disease is diagnosed by X-ray, where at least 3 adjacent thoracic vertebrae have wedging of at least 5 degrees.

Treatment of Scheuermann's Disease

What can the athlete do about it?

  • See a doctor.
  • Stretch the hamstring muscles and strengthen the abdominal muscles.

What can a doctor do?

  • X-ray to confirm the diagnosis. If three adjacent vertebrae have wedged 5 degrees or more then a diagnosis may be made.
  • Prescribe a corset or support if the disease is progressing quickly.
  • Joint mobilization and massage to the upper spine to relax muscles and reduce pain.
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