Scheuermann’s Disease (hunchback)

July 16, 2012 by
Filed under: Case of the month, Cases, Spinewave Bulletin, Symptoms 

I heard about Dr Neil from a friend and my immediate response was: forget it, I’ve had enough of chiropractors – Peter.

Scheuermann’s, or “hunchback”, is a developmental disease found in adolescents where spinal vertebrae become wedge-shaped rather than rectangular. The wedge-shaped vertebrae don’t stack straight and start to curve forward. The disorder is named after Dr Scheuermann of Denmark, who first recognised it.

Nowadays people create their own version of Scheuermann’s Disease by hunching over computers, constantly playing with iPhones, or poor posture in general. This not only affects the shape and nature of the spine, but severely impacts the function of a very important part of the nervous system: the sympathetic nervous system.

The sympathetic nervous system is also commonly known as the fight/flight system, associated with increased heart rate and adrenalin during emergencies. What is more commonly unknown though is that a thoracic spine which is not working properly, hunched over or “stuck” in certain places, is constantly activating the sympathetic nervous system in a manner one cannot feel.

An overactive sympathetic nervous system can cause hypersensitivities, allergies, anxiety, fatigue, depression or irritable bowel. It’s like the body is in a chronic state of emergency, without an emergency actually occurring.

An obvious way to recognise a “runaway” sympathetic nervous system is blanching of the skin when depressed by fingers (right), redness, pimples, eczema or dermatitis. Blood vessels become flushed when the sympathetic nervous system is firing and this can be measured with thermographic technology to assess where potential disturbances are in the spine.

Midback pain is also a key indicator the thoracic spine is not working properly and probably activating the sympathetic nervous system. Problems in the thoracic spine can not only cause back pain, but also be a trigger of migraines, stiff neck and gut problems, i.e. constipation, gas, bloating or indigestion.

The following images are a separate case example of long-standing, chronic midback pain activating the sympathetic nervous system in a 31 year old female. Note the butterfly-shaped redness in the centre of the spine, and its resolution following 3 months of chiropractic care, demonstrating a much healthier nervous system.

I was born with Scheuermann’s Disease and developed a side curvature in my spine later in life. I suffer osteoarthritis in the neck from repeated trauma with two vertebrae almost fused. That combined with one leg being shorter than the other made for a lot of pain over a lifetime. Saying that however, I have always been athletic in a number of disciplines like Tae Kwon Do and body building.

A decade or so ago I started wearing a heel lift, because the chiropractor I saw at the time prescribed it as a means to deal with the misalignment of my spine, and it worked – for a while. A few months ago I was back in so much pain and frustrated that I wanted to stop using it. At that time I heard about Dr Neil from a friend and my immediate response was: forget it, I’ve had enough of chiropractors. But meeting Neil through a friend I felt this guy is different; a new breed of chiro-attitude, and went to see him – skeptical, but nonetheless curious.

A few months later and not only have I thrown away my wedge, but am back in the gym pumping iron: doing dead-lifts, squats and big back exercises. There is still a little pain, but the increase in well-being and stabilisation of neck and core through Dr Neil’s work is quite remarkable.

One of the most beautiful moments I had was when Neil “toggled” me a few weeks ago. I remembered a long forgotten spiritual experience and it was a big release for me. Thanks Neil, you are a truly gifted healer, and with Pip at reception: a great team who make patients feel at ease.


© 2012 Dr Neil Bossenger

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