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View Full Version : Treating adult Scheuermann's kyphosis?



mcm
10-12-2006, 09:37 AM
I am a 22 year old female with Scheuermann's kyphosis and scoliosis. My scoliosis is a 17 degree curve that hasn't changed since I was a young teen; I went to an orthopedist about a year ago, who told me my scoliosis is nothing to worry about as long as it doesn't cause pain (it doesn't). The kyphosis is my primary diagnosis. I remember my shoulders starting to pull forward when I was around 10 or 11; I was diagnosed with Scheuermann's soon after that. The kyphosis does not cause pain and is purely a cosmetic issue; however, it really bothers me because I always look like I'm slouching and it's impossible for me to achieve perfect posture.

I am extremely self-conscious about my kyphosis. I always try to avoid situations where people will see me from the side, even people I should be comfortable with by now, like my family and boyfriend. I always sit in corners and against walls when I can help it. I'm happy with my appearance otherwise; I like the way I look from the front, but from the side my posture appears very poor. It's frustrating because there's nothing I can do about it. I lack flexibility in my upper back because of the kyphosis, and it's impossible for me to sit or stand up straight no matter how much I try. I have to admit I am horribly envious of people with great posture and I always wish it were something I could achieve. Having proper bearing makes a person appear more confident and energetic and less sloppy, which is how I feel that I look.

I also have a tendency to slouch my shoulders. Sometimes while at work (I'm an office drone who sits in front of a computer all day) I try to sit as straight as possible, but my back and shoulders get very tired if I try to sit up straight for too long.

I run and lift weights regularly but of course these exercises do nothing for posture. I also do pilates on occasion, which is beneficial for me as I have a weak core and and tight hamstrings, but I don't know how much it could help improve my posture.

There's obviously a genetic component to my Scheuermann's kyphosis because my father has it too, along with very tight hamstrings and an inflexible core. His curve is much worse than mine, and I don't want to end up like him. His sister, brothers, and mother have it as well, so heredity has not worked in my favor!

So here is my question: is there any hope for me of improving my curve? Is it worth shelling out money for physical therapy, or is my spine too set in its ways? I am even willing to wear a brace if it would improve my back. I'm having a lot of trouble finding good information on treatment of Scheuermann's kyphosis, especially the prognosis for treatment in adulthood. How responsive to treatment is kyphosis? Is it too late for me at 22?

Thanks so much for reading my ramblings!

LindaRacine
10-12-2006, 12:25 PM
Hi...

There is no treatment other than surgery that will reduce your kyphosis, so don't shell out the money. Since it's bothering you, I think it's time to find a specialist who can help you. You'll find a list of them here:

http://www.srs.org/directory/directory.asp

Regards,
Linda

sweetness514
10-12-2006, 02:21 PM
Having proper bearing makes a person appear more confident and energetic and less sloppy, which is how I feel that I look.


I had to reply to this, since I have a great posture I'm often told that I'm stiff and not "normal" like most people, since a lot of people do not have good posture wether they have kyphosis or not so I believe people will always find something about anybody to either pick on criticize and at this point, I don't put much value in that. I'm ok with how I look and that's what matters.

I wish you luck and hope you don't feel so bad about yourself, b/c confidence is not about how we look, but more about how we feel and think of ourselves :)

mcm
10-12-2006, 03:38 PM
Hi...

There is no treatment other than surgery that will reduce your kyphosis, so don't shell out the money. Since it's bothering you, I think it's time to find a specialist who can help you. You'll find a list of them here:

http://www.srs.org/directory/directory.asp

Regards,
Linda

Thanks so much for your reply.

This site claims that "Patients with Kyphosis are also benefiting from Kyphosis Bracing and Kyphosis treatment protocols": http://www.scoliosissystems.com/ Is bracing really not a possibility?

Also, could the kyphosis have been corrected if I were braced as a child/teenager?

Marcilo
10-19-2006, 03:35 PM
Have you had your Kyphosis measured yet? Degree of curve plays an important role as to what should be done next
I feel for you based on what you have said with one more addition, I dread sneezing, itís becoming painful slowly to sneeze

javaboy
10-19-2006, 11:40 PM
Is bracing really not a possibility?

Also, could the kyphosis have been corrected if I were braced as a child/teenager?

Pretty much correct on both accounts. Bracing only works while the body is still growing. Once you hit about 18, it stops, so at age 22, a brace is useless. That said, if you're still young and your body is still growing, then they do help. I wouldn't necessarily use the word corrected, as I don't think anyone's ever been completely cured simply through the use of a brace, but they can certainly slow down the development of a curve.

As an adult who has congenital kyphosis, and the same strength issues in the upper back, my recommendation would be to find a physical therapist who is aware of your spine and works to correct how the muscles react to it. I was miserable for years because of the weakness of my back and the pain that came with it - actively working to strengthen things up with the help of a physio was about as close as I could get to tackling it (and the depression that went with it) with my bare hands. Good luck! ;)

mcm
10-25-2006, 09:29 AM
Thank you so much for your replies.

I have no idea what my degree of curve is. Kyphosis was my primary diagnosis while it and my scoliosis were being monitored during my early adolescence. My parents had a falling-out with the orthopedist when I was about 14, and since I hated these doctor visits so passionately, I stopped going to the orthopedist and my back was not monitored after about age 14. I remember my scoliosis being 17 degrees. My parents don't remember my degree of curve for the kyphosis and I haven't been able to get hold of my medical records (although I am still trying).

I did visit another orthopedist/spine specialist last year just to make sure everything was okay with my back. He measured my scoliosis at 17 degrees and said not to worry about it since it hasn't changed in years, and causes me no pain. I told him I believed I had kyphosis too, but he said my thoracic spine looked fine! (He had taken x-rays, too.) This boggled my mind, because I know my thoracic spine is decidedly NOT fine. I'm less certain of the severity of my curve. I'm pretty sure the kyphosis is not medically severe, but it causes me a great deal of emotional anguish and always has. I think my spine has contributed to a mild undiagnosed eating disorder and an obsession with exercise and body shape. I know that these are problems that also need to be addressed independently of the physical condition of my spine--but I have to wonder if they'd have come about at all if I'd been born with a normal back.

So, I am planning eventually to visit another orthopedist and see what he says about the kyphosis.

Snoopy
10-25-2006, 11:38 AM
mcm,

Just curious, did the doctor take x-rays from the front and the side? My daughter has Kyphoscoliosis and they always x-ray her from the front and from the side. Keep that in mind when you see your next orthopedist even if you have to request that they do both x-rays.

Good luck.

Mary Lou