Scoliosis is a curved distortion of the spine in the thoracic and/or lumbar areas. In Morbus Scheuermann, the vertebrae in this area are affected by a growth disturbance of unknown origin. Both diseases are often diagnosed in children and youngsters during puberty.
Scoliosis is a disease of the back, with the spine curved to the right or left, while additional individual vertebrae are distorted, too. About 90 percent of scolioses are idiopathic. This means that the cause of the illness is unknown. It is predominantly diagnosed in children between the ages of ten and twelve. Girls are four times more frequently affected than boys.
The distortion can appear in the lumbar area but also in the thoracic section of the spine, and at times, even both areas are affected, in which case we are talking about a double-S-scoliosis. Children with scoliosis in an advanced stage often display a very characteristic distorted posture: On one side, their hip protrudes very clearly, one shoulder is somewhat higher than the other, and one half of the back curves back in a more pronounced way. At some time, this distorted posture is discovered, be it while buying clothes or during sports class at school. But it does not have to come to that: The earlier scoliosis is detected, the better the chances to correct the situation.
Morbus Scheuermann is a growth disturbance that affects the vertebrae in the spine's thoracic area but also in its lumbar section. Most commonly, it appears between the ages of ten and fifteen. Boys are affected twice as much as girls. For a hitherto unknown cause, part of the bone substance dies away during this disease. Thus, the vertebral bodies acquire a tapered shape and the disks sink into the vertebrae, a phenomenon also called Schmorl's nodules. This results in pain - and a very pronounced humpback. Often, parents misinterpret this posture as gawky or lazy. After puberty, the Scheuermann disease comes to a halt, the pain disappears but the rounded back remains.