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Scheuremann’s kyphosis
and Back Pain

Scheuremann’s kyphosis is sometimes referred to as Scheuremann’s disease. Scheuremann’s kyphosis is a condition which would result in having a rounded or hunched back. It is a developmental disorder that causes the sufferer to walk leaning forward. Lying on the back doesn’t help change its shape.

Scheuremann’s kyphosis affects up to 8% of the population, and it is more common in boys than girls. Scheuremann’s kyphosis mainly occurs in the thoracic region of the spine, usually between the levels of T7 and T9, this type of kyphosis usually presents itself during adolescence and is caused by growth irregularities of the spinal vertebrae.

As the vertebra are developing a condition called osteochondrosis causes the anterior and posterior (front and back) sides of the vertebrae to grow at different speeds which results in the vertebrae developing into wedge shapes.


The characteristic for Scheuremann’s kyphosis is bending forward. How severe this is, depends on person to person. It can be very slightly noticeable in some and more in others. A great deal of pain is not usually experienced by the sufferer even though there can be some discomfort. Conditions such as arthritis are bought on by age, it is generally then when the pain is experienced.


Doctor’s have to first find out if any spinal curvature is due to bad posture by itself, and not a developmental problem. After a thorough and detailed physical examination, the diagnosis is usually confirmed with the use of X-rays.


The choice of treatment a doctor would recommend would be very different. If the person suffering from this condition is young, has no pain and is quite fit, usually strengthening exercises and regular monitoring of the development of the condition is all that is needed.

Some doctors would recommend their patients to try a back brace, as it is used to help strengthen and straighten the spine. It is also very helpful if young people use a back brace as it helps relieve the pressure on the vertebrae which could let the growth differences somewhat correct themselves, reducing the curvature.

There are disadvantages to using the back brace in young people; it is all a matter of obedience. It can be fairly uncomfortable at first to wear and can take quite a few weeks getting used to it, as it has to be worn for at least 16 to 20 hours a day. It can also be awkward in using it in everyday activities and is noticeable when worn too.

After other methods have been tried and been unsuccessful then surgery is available to help this condition. The type of surgery which is offered is called spinal fusion, where two segments of bone are combined together by using rods, cages and screws.

If the curvature is very severe, if pain is becoming progressively worse and can not be controlled by other methods or if neurological problems have arisen then surgery is usually offered.

Psychological Issues

For those diagnosed with Scheuremann’s kyphosis during the teenage years can find it most difficult. It is suggested they take part in therapy, education and support groups.

It is important to have leaflets and information for patients as it is necessary for teenagers to be fully informed and involved in making decisions about their treatment. This way they will learn to cope with their diagnosis better.

Scheuremann’s kyphosis is a developmental disorder that is usually diagnosed in adolescents. There are a variety of available treatments offered, but if the patient is coping without any interference, then exercise and mild pain relief will usually be adequate.

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