Published in the Journal of Physical Therapy Science on November 26, 2019, is a case study documenting the improvement of spinal curvatures, posture, lower back pain, and headaches in a patient with Scheuerman’s disease. According to the publication Spine-Health, “Scheuermann’s Disease is a growth condition in which the normal curve in the upper spine is increased, forming a hunched back. The disease also called Scheuermann’s Kyphosis typically occurs in the thoracic spine when the front does not grow as fast as the back of the spine, so that the vertebrae become wedge-shaped.”
This study begins by noting the impact that poor posture can have on overall health and quality of Life. “Many studies have determined that postural misalignment or spinal subluxation is associated with pain and disability. Recently, in fact, it has been reported that those with poor posture had a significantly poorer quality of life scores as measured by the SF-36 questionnaire (a self-evaluation questionnaire) than those with various other well-known diseases including self-reported arthritis, chronic lung disease, diabetes and congestive heart failure.”
Many people think of poor posture as a bad habit of how a person stands or sits. In fact, many cases of poor posture have a structural or anatomical reason based in the spine. Scheuerman’s disease is one of the anatomical spinal changes that can create a hunched back appearance and result in poor posture.
In this case, an 18-year-old man brought himself to a chiropractor for issues of lower back pain that was radiating down into his right hip and knee for the past several years. The man explained that the pain was constant and was made worse from movement as well as daily activities such as sitting, standing or sleeping. He also reported that he occasionally suffered from mild mid back pain, neck pain and headaches.
The examination of the patient revealed pain on spinal palpation along with taut muscles. Some of the man’s spinal ranges of motion were abnormal, and orthopedic tests were unremarkable. Spinal x-rays were taken which showed several areas of mispositioned vertebrae noted as subluxations. Based on the findings of the examination and x-rays, specific chiropractic care was started.
A re-assessment was performed after 14 weeks of chiropractic care. At that time, the man reported total relief from LBP and headaches. He did still experience some occasional mid-back pain if he sat for too long. All of his ranges of motion had returned to normal and did not cause any discomfort.
Follow-up spinal x-rays showed a significant improvement in the man’s mid-back and neck curvatures. The neck curvature had increased to a closer to normal forward curve, and the previously increased mid-back curve had been reduced closer to a normal curvature.
In their conclusion, the authors summed up the positive changes by stating, “This case adds to the accumulating evidence demonstrating (Chiropractic) methods offers an effective approach to reduce the burden of postural disorders including those with Scheuermann’s disease.”