Boston Othotics and Prosthetics

Can the Schroth Method be Used for Hyperkyphosis and Scheuermann’s Disease?

Posted on by Amy Sbihli, MPT, DPT

The Schroth Method is often associated with treatment of three-dimensional scoliotic spine deformities. However, there is another form of spine deformity that affects the side view (the front to back inward and outward curvature of the spine) known as hyperkyphosis and Scheuermann’s Disease.

Hyperkyphosis can be postural or a combination of postural and mild boney changes in the side profile and/or lateral x-ray. A person with hyperkyphosis might look like they just don’t like to stand tall or prefer to slouch in their chair. In this group, bilateral muscle imbalances occur and increase over time.

This postural muscle imbalance can be painful, so most people are very happy to know that the Schroth Method can help them improve their posture if they are willing to make a change and consistently follow specific exercises.

Scheuermann’s kyphosis (named for the Danish radiologist who first wrote about the condition) is a more severe form of hyperkyphosis involving a boney deformity. As with idiopathic scoliosis, there is no known cause, but its origin is multifactorial in nature.

Scheuermann’s kyphosis is described by where the boney deformities occur in the spine. The deformity involves the front part of the spine, known as the vertebral body. In Scheuermann’s kyphosis, three adjacent bodies are wedged, meaning they are taller in the back. This causes the spine to tip forward. It is more often seen in boys than girls.

The same muscle imbalances occur as in hyperkyphosis, but with a bigger effect on the structure of the torso and the individual vertebra. With Schroth, we see very significant changes in a short period of time. With the combination of training general flexibility in the shoulders and hips as well as the use of Schroth to elongate and expand the torso, it is my experience that the patient finds it easier to breath, has less pain and shows improved self-esteem.

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