Scheuermanns Disease 2/3
Let’s go down the more common path of both lumbar lordosis AND Scheuermann’s, and I will explain why. As mentioned in the description of lumbar lordosis, the pelvis pivots forward, and as it does, and by virtue of the fact that the spine emerges from the pelvis through a fixed joint with the sacrum [the triangular bone at the centre of the pelvis and at the base of the vertebral column], its angle of emergence from the pelvis is directly determined by the pelvis itself [this has to be the case because it is fixed directly to it], and therefore with the pelvis pivoting [tilting] forward, the lumbar spine’s direction of emergence is excessively forward [anterior].

Now, stick with me and we will work our way to Scheuermann’s.
The spine begins to compensate [just as it does but in a different way with scoliosis]. Should the spine not compensate [and this typically takes place gradually over time], the tendency would be for the body to topple forward as the weight of the torso would create excessive forward weight ahead of the gravity [or mid] line. The head, however, always endeavours to find its way to a position directly above the mid line, [for a number of reasons]. This is achieved by a process that involves an exaggeration of the spine’s natural curvatures. Due to the lumbar spine emerging from the pelvis at an accentuated angle, the spine above it begins to compensate [as I said earlier], it then adapts in the vertebrae above the lower lumbar vertebrae in an exaggerated curvature manner, the lumbar spine becomes excessively curved forward, the thoracic spine correspondingly in an excessively curved manner backward, and the cervical spine in an excessively forward curvature.

Importantly, the excessive forward curvature forward in the lumbar spine creates excessive pressure on the posterior [rear] aspects of the vertebrae in that region and results in several painful and dangerous conditions [Spondylosis, spondylolisthesis, sciatica, anterior disc slippage {slipped disc}, to name but a few].

However the excessive backward curvature of the thoracic spine tends to have the opposite effect due to the compensation occurring in the opposite direction [i.e. backward curvature instead of forward], resulting in excessive pressure being brought to bear on the anterior [front aspects] of the thoracic vertebrae, which amongst other conditions, brings about the end-plate wedging [lipping] that is always evident in Scheuermann’s.
We could trace this process all the way to the top of the spine and discuss the further spinal compensatory patterns that generally occur, and the resultant painful conditions that follow, however that line of thought would take us away from the understanding of what Scheuermann’s actually is, and so having that particular discussion now will not be helpful to this discussion, but will be covered in another article due for inclusion shortly.

Having followed the skeletal compensatory pattern from below the pelvis, through the pelvis, up to the lumbar spine and finally as far as the thoracic spine, we can now see why the groups of muscles attaching to the fronts of the pelvis from below, play such a vital role in the position of the spine.

This is true from a helpful and a harmful perspective.
It is essential to appreciate that if we allow excessive tensions within those muscles to force the pelvis into an excessively anterior [forward] position, we WILL suffer from the sorts of conditions listed above in the lumbar and thoracic spine, HOWEVER, it is also essential to appreciate that if we reverse the effects of these excessive tensions and compensatory patterns, we can also reverse the effects of the problems.
This is the positive conclusion we should draw from this whole exercise, and one that should never be far from our consciousness.

Let’s spend a few moments to consider why the pelvis might be drawn from its correct and natural position, and apply those thoughts to Scheuermann’s.

Any soft tissue [particularly muscles] that might be regularly left in a shortened condition for any extended periods of time [such as being in a seated position with our arms in front of the body and our shoulders forward {remember the kids sitting in front of the computer?}], will become chronically shortened, and will remain that way, unless a process is systematically employed to reverse the effects of this shortening.

In Back For Life, I highlight this scenario using an analogy that involves a strand of uncooked spaghetti. When you read my books Back For Life and My Necks Book, you will understand why this is so.

During our younger years, as I mentioned earlier, we tend to be quite active; we play, we run, we climb into all sorts of weird and wonderful positions, and we do so generally with minimal weight upon our spines and with a maximum degree of the essential ingredient collagen within our muscles.

As we grow older, several things often occur; we gain weight, our collagen production decreases, and we often refrain from the sorts of activities that previously benefited us during our younger years.

The primary muscles of our mobility [walking, running, riding bikes and climbing stairs] are predominantly on the front of our thighs; they are the hip flexors I referred to earlier, and as these muscles lose their elasticity, they will shorten and tighten.

As this occurs, the entire pattern described earlier begins to occur, with the sorts of results that are often described as a ‘disease’ called Scheuermann’s.

Remember my Back For Life program will help you overcome the pain.

Richard Convery – Proud to be serving Jesus as my Saviour and friend – Isaiah 54:17

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