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Common Kyphosis Questions ?

How do I know if my child has postural kyphosis or Scheuermann's disease?

If he/she is not complaining of pain, try to encourage proper posture and exercise. Stronger muscles will help maintain proper posture.

If my son is diagnosed with Scheuremann's disease, how often will he need to see the doctor?

Usually every 4 months, which will include X-rays, until he is finished growing. The doctor will check his height at every visit, so will have a pretty good idea of when to lengthen the time between visits.

My family physician said that my daughter's hunched posture is due to poor posture, not due to any illness. Her posture is getting worse and she complains of a sore back. What should I do?

By all means, have your daughter see the doctor again and go with her to her appt. Follow your intuition. If you feel that the curvature is more than the "usual" amount found with poor posture, tell the doctor that you'd feel better if she had X-rays taken and that you'd like the radiologist to read them. When the physical exam is questionable, X-rays are often needed to determine if there is a more serious condition present.

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The X-rays show that there is no disease present and my child's poor posture continues. She is a teenager, so gets aggravated when I remind her to stand up straight. What can I do?

Have her see her doctor if she has any signs of pain, especially if it's been a few months since the last appt. Further X-rays may be needed or PT (physical therapy) may be indicated. The physical therapist can work with your teen to set up an exercise and stretching program. Teens generally will listen to another authoritative figure more often than to their parents. If she is not experiencing pain, at least give her doctor a call to discuss PT. If the problem continues, and/or pain develops, make another appt to see her doctor.

The spine specialist has followed my son for almost 2 yrs. He said that he doesn't need to go back for another year, as his curve is not progressing and he has stopped growing (or at least it has slowed substantially). He complains of pain and muscle fatigue. Now what?

Always follow your intuition. If he's tried PT and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications without relief, then by all means either see the doctor again, or get a second opinion. (Most physicians will accept this, and even help you to schedule an appt with another spine specialist.) There are many options available: braces, steroid injections, other methods to control the pain, and possibly surgery.

My son has Scheuermann's. He has seen several physicians (including spine specialists), has tried 3 different physical therapists, has been to the pain clinic for steroid injections, and has tried various medications and the TENS unit for pain. His doctor said that there's nothing more that can be done for him. He's only 18, and I hate to see him suffer. What can I do?

If he has seen his doctor recently or if you feel that he/she will not change his/her mind about your son's treatment, then ask for a second opinion. Another option would be to check with your family practice physician, to see if he/she has any recommendations, or check with the Orthopedic physicians at your local clinic. They often will know of someone, or at least have other resources available, so you can get the information you need.
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