A year and a half ago, I was diagnosed with what was referred to as "Scheuermann's Disease" by a German Spinal specialist in Berlin. I was told this after receiving a CAT scan, which revealed that one of my dics, I believe between my 4th and 5th vertabrae, had completely disintegrated. I was told to perform no sports, running, even extensive walking, nor to carry a heavy bag, in an attempt to keep as much pressure as possible off of my spine. After 3 years or so, my vertabrae would fuse (as bones do, when they are in steady contact with each other) and my problems would be solved.
However, I finally took the time just today, and earlier this week, to do some actual research on the topic. I had done none previously because I thought my parents would, along with the array of physical therapists, and my specialist. My parents did not, nor did the physiotherapists, as we recently discovered, so we have yet to receive a second opinion (that is, and oopinion from anyone besides the specialist).
I'm typically one to just trust the doctor, and let him handle it, but this time is different. According to several websites, including WebMD, which I am assuming is a trustworthy site, my symptoms do not match with the symptoms of Scheuermann's Disease.
So I'm wondering if anyone would have any idea as to what this could possibly be, or if anyone could clarify on Scheuermann's. (It is definitely not a slipped disc, nor scoliosis.)
Please give us more information about your symptoms. You really don't say much other than what you were told by one doctor.
Do you have a MRI confirming that the disc has degenerated? What are your symtoms? Does anything make the pain better or worse, like sitting, standing, walking, etc?
Scheuermann's Disease typically describes an issue of the thoracic spine. There is another condition in the lumbar spine that is sometimes called Scheuermann's Disc Disease. This term is used to describe changes that occur in the disc spaces of the lumbar spine that can lead to back pain. But I believe it typically strikes adolescents...and the correct name for it is Juvenile Disc Disease. Is this perhaps what the German doctor was describing?
Day to day, I experience low level pain constantly. Any time I bend down and use my back to pick up something, of any weight, my back muscles will spasm painfully, and lock up, making it painful and difficult to move for some time. In addition, walking for any distance past a mile or so will lead to the development of knots in my mid-back, which are very sensitive to pressure and somewhat uncomfortable. The same happens if I run for any distance. Or if I carry a heavy bag or backpack.
All of the pain is concentrated in my middle back, about an inch or two beneath the tips of my shoulder blades. Any exertion of the muscles there lead to the aforementioned spasms. There are exercises that I have been told to do, which I do religiously. They have helped to a degree. I have also found that backstroke swimming helps.
I was just diagnosed with Scheuermann's a couple of days ago. Im 24 years old and from America. Here's some info on the disease my ortho surgeon (who is ranked as one of the best in the country) told me. Scheuermans is not really a disease per say you can't run a blood test or anything for it, its just the malformation of some or all of your vertebrae. It's diagnosis is based upon looking the structure and shape of the vertebrae. With Scheuermann's, instead of the vertebrae being a similar width all the way across, the vertebrae begin to narrow on this inside or the endplate portion of the disc usually causing kyphosis (when spine bends further than normal at the shoulder). With This shape of the vertebrae and exaggerated curvature of the spine, it's very easy for discs to slip and herniate. They can also put pressure on the spinal chord and cause tremendous pain and muscle spasms. I have 5 thoracic herniated discs and one cervical. My doctor has ordered me to do physical therapy twice a week for 2 months. If that doesn't work I can have steroid injections. He did not tell me not to play sports or go running (although maybe he just figured I was in too much pain to consider it). He did tell me I should try some light swimming and walking. The things that help me most are 1. Being in the pool switching back and forth between that and the hot tub. 2. I bought a used massage chair recently that is designed to mimic human massage.
As for trusting your doctor, I would most definitely get a second opinion by an Ortho surgeon. I would also have an MRI. I have never heard of anyone being diagnosed with a back problem using a CAT scan. I have also never heard of vertebrae fusing miraculously on their own. Typically they just grind together which is supposed to be extremely painful. People I know whose discs are deteriorated or severely herniated have the vertebrae fused surgically with pins to hold the bones in place.
By the way, the symptoms you are describing are almost exactly like mine, except I also have intense neck pain and chronic headaches likely due to the herniated cervical disk in my neck. I also get golf ball sized muscle spasms on my shoulders and pins and needles pain when it gets bad