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Scheuermann's disease

Your spine is naturally curved. That's a good thing. Gradual curves help the spine absorb shocks. However, too much of a curve in part of the spine can cause pain; trouble moving; and deformities, like a rounded upper back. This is what happens with Scheuermann's disease (also called Scheuermann's kyphosis), a condition that typically affects young people.

Fortunately, Scheuermann's disease is treatable and surgery isn't usually necessary.

The team at Twin Cities Spine Center has vast expertise in diagnosing Scheuermann's disease and planning an effective course of treatment.

Symptoms of Scheuermann's disease

Scheuermann's disease often looks like bad posture, and that's a common reason that people delay seeing a doctor for it. Scheuermann's disease is more than bad posture, though. Someone who has the disease isn't able to straighten their spine.  

An expert diagnosis of Scheuermann's disease and prompt treatment can help a young person regain function and make sure they don't experience long-term pain from the disease.

Symptoms of Scheuermann's disease that may warrant a visit to one of the experts at Twin Cities Spine Center include:

  • Presence of an inflexible back deformity, like a hump. This is often the reason that young people who have Scheuermann's disease first visit the doctor.
  • Intermittent aching pain in your mid and/or upper back—this pain may get worse after activities that involve twisting, bending or arching backward.
  • With increased thoracic kyphosis, patients may have increased lumbar lordosis (swayback) with possible low-back pain.

Scheuermann's disease treatment

The right treatment for Scheuermann's disease depends on a variety of factors, such as a person's age and how severe the spine deformity and symptoms are.

At Twin Cities Spine Center, we start with a nonsurgical approach to Scheuermann's disease treatment whenever possible. Often, this means using something called a Milwaukee brace. The brace holds your spine in the proper position. It's similar to a back brace but also includes a neck ring. In some cases, underarm braces may be used as well.

Exercises may also be prescribed along with a Milwaukee brace. Exercise won't correct Scheuermann's disease, but it can help ease back pain and fatigue and keep you flexible.

It's rare for someone with Scheuermann's disease to need surgery. However, spinal fusion surgery may be used in some cases, such as when the spine is severely curved, if the condition is causing neurological problems or if pain is severe and nonsurgical treatments aren't helping. Surgery may also be appropriate for adults who are more skeletally mature and no longer growing.