Non-operative Kyphosis Treatments
Early treatment is especially important to the adolescent patient. Left untreated, the curve progression can lead to significant problems during adulthood. Routine follow-up is essential to properly monitor curve progression.
Certain exercises may be recommended (e.g. physical therapy) to strengthen the patient's paravertebral muscles. Further, the patient must make a conscious effort to work toward correcting and maintaining proper posture.
Analgesics and anti-inflammatory medication may be used to provide relief. Padded orthoses can be used to control pain, but these do not control curve progression. The patient's age, remaining growth potential, degree of kyphosis, curve progression, and the amount of vertebral wedging determine treatment of Scheuermann's Disease.
Bracing is the standard treatment to control curve progression in adolescents. For curve correction, a Cervical Thoraco Lumbar Sacral Orthotic (CTLSO) may be worn for 24 hours per day for a period of one year. The physician determines the type of brace and how it is to be worn (e.g. hours per day, length of time). After the initial bracing period, the patient is weaned out of the brace. Bracing does not provide permanent benefit to patients 16 years or older. Adolescents may find bracing difficult because the brace can be uncomfortable. Surgery is a consideration when kyphosis is severe (e.g. greater than 70 degree curve) and symptoms (e.g. pain) are unrelieved by conservative treatment.