The normal angle of kyphosis in young patients ranges from 20-45°. One condition that may alter the normal thoracic curvature is Scheuermann’s disease.
Classified as one of the osteochondroses, Scheuermann’s disease usually appears just prior to puberty with roughly equal prevalence between males and females.
The condition is characterized by an increase in the normal thoracic kyphosis and is associated with structural changes in the vertebral bodies – namely wedging, endplate irregularities and diminished anterior vertebral body growth.
Long-term follow-up studies highlight that patients with Scheuermann’s disease tend to have more severe back pain, work lighter jobs and have more concerns regarding their appearance when compared with healthy patients. If left untreated, patients with kyphosis tend to experience a progression of their deformity and associated back pain.
The scientific literature points to bracing being an effective treatment for patients with hyper-kyphosis. Bracing appears to not only prevent progression in this group but may also serve to restore the normal kyphosis in some patients.
The best results from bracing are observed when treatment is initiated in skeletally immature patients who have curvatures of between 55-80°.