Scheuermann’s is a condition which affects the thoracic spine.   In particular the anterior sections of the thoracic vertebrae where loading occurs are affected, resulting in wedging of the vertebrae.  This is caused by a problem with bones ossifying properly and growth plates being affected.

Diagnosis usually takes place in adolescence, with boys mostly affected.

Signs & Symptoms

  • Increased thoracic kyphosis (curvature of the upper back)

  • local pain to upper back

  • Aggravated by repetitive thoracic flexion

What Causes It?

  • Trauma

  • Repetitive flexion (e.g. cycling posture)

How to Self Manage


  • X-ray investigation is required to confirm the diagnosis.  Scheuermann’s is diagnosed if 3-4 levels are affected.

  • If severe a corset type brace may be required

  • Surgery would be warranted if spinal cord involvement became apparent or if wedging was at a level of 50 degrees or more

How Physio Helps

  • Possible diagnosis of the condition as they may be the first point of contact

  • Referral for x-ray for confirmation

  • Joint mobilisation

  • Massage and electrical therapies to reduce pain

  • Prescription of exercises to improve posture (strengthening of back extensors, abdominals, stretching of hamstrings and back muscles)

  • Advice about modification of sport and hobbies involving repeated flexion

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Sammy Margo Physiotherapy

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Disclaimer: Information made available by AskPhysio (Sammy Margo Physiotherapy) is provided for guidance only and should not be considered as medical recommendations or advice.  AskPhysio is not responsible for errors or omissions in the information. Please consider what the best options for your healthcare are, based on the urgency of your condition and nature of your condition. Please consult a GP or Healthcare Specialist to discuss any specific concerns that exist prior to using the information provided.