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Scheuermann’s Disease

Symptoms Checklist:

  • Your pain came on gradually
  • You are getting increasingly round shouldered
  • Your chest is being flattened
  • The middle of your back feels achy
  • Your spine is stiff and tender
  • Adults are telling you not to “slouch”

Scheuermann’s Disease

Your spine is made up of 33 bones, 12 of them in the mid-back (thoracic spine).  They are each about one inch high, stacked like poker chips one on top of the other. When the surfaces of these bones begin to crumble it is referred to as Scheuermann’s Disease.  The crumbling will last for one or two years, usually your early teens and then it stops.  Generally the inside of the bones crumbles most which makes the few affected bones wedge shaped and lower on their inside throwing the spine forward and causing a rounding of the shoulders.  It is quite a common condition (affecting maybe as much as 1 in 4) and not nearly as frightening as it sounds.  However, it does affect people to varying degrees. 

Physical Therapy/Osteopathy and Scheuermann’s Disease

When the bones in the back take a “V” shape it throws the top of the spine forward making the natural curve more pronounced and giving a round shouldered appearance.  A healthy spine is kept upright by its healthy bones and also by a series of muscles, tendons, ligaments and other soft tissues.  Where the shape of the bones changes slightly, this must be offset by the other structures making a greater effort.  Your therapist will identify the muscle groups that need strengthening to straighten your spine back towards the normal.  Muscles of your chest, neck and abdomen will also be included in this.

Tags: Back - Upper, Back - Lower, Chest, Abdomen, Ligaments, Spine, Tendons, Muscles, Back pain, Scheuermann’s Disease

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