About Scheuermann's Disease
Also known as Calvé disease, Scheuermann’s disease is a disorder that affects the growth of the thoracic and/or lumbar vertebrae in the spine. It causes the back side of the vertebral body to grow as it should while the front grows abnormally and slowly, causing some of the vertebrae to become wedge shaped. Typically developing before puberty, Scheuermann’s disease can cause a rounded upper back and general back pain that is most often associated with periods of inactivity. To reduce the long-term impact of the disease, it’s crucial to seek treatment as early as possible. At Spine Care of North Texas, board-certified spine surgeon Dr. Kendall Carll provides treatments for both adolescents and adults who suffer from Scheuermann’s disease at his offices in Addison, Frisco and Plano, TX. His aim is to help patients find relief from pain and regain their ability to enjoy life.
"I recently experienced a pinched nerve that severely affected my ability to use my right hand. I contacted Dr. Carll who immediately went to work on my behalf. Knowing that this was a time sensitive situation Dr. Carll went out of his way to ensure that I received the appropriate MRIs, CAT scans, and nerve studies to properly diagnose my situation. After reviewing all the test Dr. Carll exhibited true professionalism and integrity by referring me out to Dr. Patty Young (I am so thankful for your referral) who specialized in the surgery that I would need. Dr. Carll could’ve chosen to operate because I had several degenerative disc, however he chose ethics over profit. Dr. Carll is a true professional that will put your health over profit! When it comes to your health there’s nothing more important than having a doctor that you can trust to be professional and ethical. Thank you Dr. Carll for providing me with both!"- K.H. / Google / Aug 29, 2018
"After being in pain for 3 years, my neck surgery changed my life!"- K.B. / Google / Apr 30, 2023
"Dr carrell read my chart even after not seeeing him for over one year and I appreciate that more than anything. Thank you!"- C.T. / Google / Apr 17, 2023
"Dr Carll treated a broken L4&5 on our teenage son years ago - and is helping me with a degenerative disc. The office is nice, the PA is wonderful, Miss Mary even called back to let me know the prescriptions were called in. Dr Carll was kind, helpful and professional. I couldn’t be more grateful as we work to reduce this pain. I highly recommend Dr. Carll."- A.B. / Google / Mar 27, 2023
"Had an excellent diagnosis, back surgery, and recovery. Dr. Carll must have done an excellent job because I was back on my racing bike for a (short) ride only 7 weeks after surgery - and after 3 months I was back up to 60 miles. 100% recommended."- W.S. / Google / Mar 17, 2023
Scheuermann's disease tends to run in families, but its exact cause may have many factors.
These factors may include:
- The onset of juvenile osteoporosis
- Malabsorption of certain nutrients early in development
- Certain infections
- Endocrine disorders
- Biomechanical factors, such as a shortened sternum
There are several symptoms that can occur with Scheuermann’s disease. The most common tend to be muscle spasms, difficulty balancing, pain associated with certain movements, and muscle stiffness. Pain typically only occurs in or around the thoracic spine but can also develop around the lumbar spine. Though it is rare, serious damage can occur with Scheuermann’s disease and harm can be caused to the spinal cord or internal organs. Therefore, it is important to seek medical advice upon noticing signs and symptoms of the condition.
The first step in diagnosing Scheuermann’s disease is a physical examination by Dr. Carll. The exam will typically include an evaluation of posture in order to examine the curvature of the spine. Most often, x-rays will also be needed for an accurate diagnosis. Individuals with Scheuermann’s disease commonly have a spinal curvature of 45 degrees or more, as well as three or more wedged vertebrae. If needed, Dr. Carll may also conduct a CT scan and/or MRI scan.
The initial treatments for Scheuermann’s disease involve taking steps to reduce inflammation and pain, as well as restore movement and mobility. Pain management options may include both over-the-counter or prescription anti-inflammatory medications. For some patients, Dr. Carll may recommend a back brace in order to help stop or reverse the curving in the spine. In many cases, physical therapy is also suggested to help maintain flexibility and alleviate some pain.
Surgery is rarely recommended for Scheuermann’s disease unless the amount of wedging of the vertebra is so great that it's impossible to achieve a normal posture, or if it is creating neurological issues. The surgical procedure for Scheuermann’s disease involves removing the discs in the affected thoracic region, inserting bone grafts into those spaces, and allowing the grafts to fuse the thoracic section of the spine. Within the same surgical procedure, a series of rods and wires will also be inserted and attached to the remaining vertebrae in the thoracic region to stabilize it. Since the thoracic region of the spine already has a limited range of motion, the fusion procedure will not greatly affect the patient’s range of motion or flexibility.
Scheuermann's Disease FAQ
What are the symptoms of Scheuermann's disease?
Symptoms usually develop in the early teens at around 10-15 years of age. These include a noticeable curvature of the spine, poor posture, back pain, and fatigue. The condition is characterized by a rigid spinal curvature that worsens with bending and partially corrects when standing straight. In some cases, Scheuermann's disease co-occurs with scoliosis.
How is Scheuermann's disease diagnosed?
Diagnosis typically involves a physical examination and X-rays of the complete spine. X-rays can show excessive kyphosis and specific changes like wedging of three or more adjacent vertebrae and Schmorl's nodes, which are small herniations of discs in the vertebrae's endplates.
Who is most likely to develop Scheuermann's disease?
Scheuermann's disease commonly develops in adolescents, with males being twice as likely as females to develop this condition. It arises during periods of rapid growth and is characterized by the wedging of vertebrae, causing an abnormal curvature of the spine.
Experience Pain Relief
Board-certified Dallas-based spine surgeon Dr. Kendall Carll is passionate about providing his patients with solutions to their spine problems. Developmental issues such as Scheuermann’s disease can be physically and emotionally challenging to live with. Dr. Carll and his staff understand, and they are prepared to help your family. Contact Spine Care of North Texas to schedule your appointment today.