Nonsurgical Options for Treating and Coping with Scheuermann’s Disease
Parents are constantly reminding their children to sit up straight and maintain good posture, because excessive rounding of the back can lead to a spinal curve deformity called kyphosis. However, this sort of spinal deformity can occur completely naturally in children and adolescents, as well.
Scheuermann’s Disease, or Scheuermann’s kyphosis, causes a rounded “hump” in the upper back due to abnormal growth of the spinal vertebrae. This condition not only affects the physical appearance of children but can lead to pain and immobility throughout the patient’s life.
Scheuermann’s Disease is not necessary to correct; however, patients may elect to receive treatment for the condition to try to relieve discomfort and improve flexibility in their back. Surgery may be able to rectify the condition, but there are many other options for pain relief that are not nearly as invasive. The chiropractic experts at Strong Life Chiropractic may be able to help patients in Lithia, FL cope with Scheuermann’s Disease through routine treatment.
Understanding Scheuermann’s Disease
Scheuermann’s Disease is not caused by prolonged posture problems. Instead, the condition occurs naturally in adolescents as they grow. Unlike normal spinal vertebrae that are evenly-shaped and stacked for proper weight-bearing, vertebrae affected by Scheuermann’s Disease will grow at different rates. This results in wedge-shaped vertebrae that cause an abnormal forward curve in the spine, creating the hump-like appearance of the back.
Scheuermann’s Disease may cause frequent pain that gets worse after prolonged periods of physical activity. Additionally, patients may experience muscle stiffness, muscle cramps, and limited mobility.
The condition typically affects the thoracic spine (upper back) but may occasionally affect the lumbar spine (lower back). A lumbar spine deformity may cause higher levels of pain. A doctor will conduct x-rays to identify and diagnose the condition, as well as to assess how severe the spinal curvature is.
Ways to treat Scheuermann’s Disease
In very severe cases, surgery may be necessary to prevent spinal injuries and pain. However, most patients will not require surgery and can learn to cope with their condition through other types of treatment led by a licensed chiropractor. The types of treatments recommended may depend on the severity of the spinal curve and the limitations on flexibility and mobility.
- Braces: If Scheuermann’s Disease is diagnosed while a child is still growing, the implementation of a back brace may help stop or reverse the abnormal growth of the spine, forcing it to grow properly in an upright position. Braces may also be able to support the spine to mitigate pain levels. Newer brace options like custom-molded braces may even allow children to resume their daily activities like sports without severe restriction.
- Heat and ice therapy: Alternating between hot pads and ice packs on the spine may help reduce inflammation and improve blood flow to the affected areas. These benefits may help relieve tension in fatigued back muscles and improve mobility temporarily.
- Anti-inflammatory medication: Anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen may help mitigate symptoms of pain and limit inflammation and swelling in the back.
- Exercise and physical therapy: A physical therapy and gentle exercise regimen may help patients improve their mobility and manage symptoms of pain long-term. Exercises will not correct the spinal curve but may be a suitable option for adolescents who are done growing and need to cope with their condition. High-impact exercises are not good choices for patients with Scheuermann’s Disease. Instead, consider sports like swimming or cycling.
- Chiropractic manipulations: Manipulations and adjustments to the spine done by an experienced chiropractor may be able to relieve tension, realign spinal segments, and promote additional stability in the spine. Chiropractors can also perform soft tissue massages, which may help alleviate pain, strengthen muscles, and improve mobility.
Scheuermann’s Disease is possible to live with without severe restrictions, as long as the pain and mobility issues are well-managed. Contact Strong Life Chiropractic in Lithia, FL to learn about our approach to patient wellness, Chiropractic BioPhysics (CBP), and how it may be able to help your Scheuermann’s kyphosis symptoms.
Chiropractic BioPhysics, or CBP, is one of the most scientific, researched, and results-oriented corrective care techniques. CBP-trained chiropractors aim to realign the spine back to health, eliminating nerve interference and addressing the source of pain, fatigue, and disease. As with all chiropractic care, CBP is gentle, painless, and non-invasive.