Scheuermann’s Disease (commonly spelt Sherman’s Disease) is a developmental disorder of the spine, most commonly found in teenagers and children.

Occurring when the back of the vertebral body grows normally and the front grows slowly or abnormally, the vertebra form a distinct wedge shape that results in an increase in the bend of the upper back called an increased dorsal kyphosis.

Kusal Goonewardena, Head of Melbourne University Sports Medicine and founder of Elite Akademy, says activities such as studying, being on the computer and even sitting can make the condition worse.

He says that the latest clinical reasoning process to help combat has been the Ridgeway Method, designed to help find the underlying cause of the signs and symptoms.

“The Ridgeway Method Institute in Brisbane and RM Clinics around Australia (including our own) are currently conducting studies to show the effectiveness of treatment in conditions such as this. The good news is that the initial clinical practices and results look positive, ” said Goonewardena.

In 75% of cases, the Ridgeway Method has found that Scheuermann’s disease is caused by:

    1. A dysfunction in the thoracic spine, lumbar spine and the cervical spine – primarily the way these joints glide and move in relation to each other.
    2. A problem in the shoulder girdle musculature
    3. A dysfunction in the gluteal muscle group

What has also been discovered is that by targeting the cause, the symptoms diminish and adolescents make a quicker recovery.

“After finding the cause we correct the biomechanical deficiencies, improve strength and control in these effected areas, teach the patient about how to prevent it in the future and then follow up to avoid future flare-ups,” said Goonewardena.

“The best results are seen for stage one sufferers (those who have suffered from the disease for between 3 and 6 months) as they obtain results in as little as 2-12 days,” he said.

From then on, stage 2 sufferers see results in about 3-12 weeks, and stage 3 acquires results after around 12-24 weeks. This can take longer as patients with stage 3 Scheuermann’s disease experience more severe deformities in the spine.

Pain experienced as a result of Scheuermann’s disease should decrease with effective treatment. Please see your physiotherapist for more information.