How To Manage Your Hunched Shoulders

How To Manage Your Hunched Shoulders

Treatment Options For Managing Hunched Shoulders

With Scheuermann’s disease a posture brace is sometimes used to help manage hunched shoulders and assist in keeping the back in a position as close to the “normal” anatomical position as possible. The exact treatment approach including the use of any postural bracing when managing hunched shoulders depends upon the degree of mechanical change (visual deformity), the severity of pain and the age of the individual.
Scheuermann’s disease deformity management during active adolescent growth periods of the spine seldom has individuals confined to rigid spinal braces for extended periods (years). Generally patients are instructed as a first choice treatment option to approach it with active management. Active management being exercise based regimes, coupled with lifestyle modifications and relative rest from aggravating activities. With the goal of active management being the minimizing of any progressive spine deformity whilst working to prevent any secondary long term complications. But again this is dependent of the prior mentioned factors regarding severity of postural changes, pain and age…

Physiotherapy Treatment For Hunched Shoulders

  • A physiotherapist will look to prescribe exercises for the purpose of maintaining mobility of the spine, minimizing stiffness, as well as prescribing strengthening exercises targeted at encouraging the activation and conditioning of postural muscles. Any exercise regime will have the goal of halting the progressive kyphotic deformity, slowing or stopping the development of hunched shoulders and assisting in managing any symptoms such as pain.
  • Other approaches used by the physiotherapist will often include looking into ergonomic adjustments to aid postural support when considering sitting and studying postures. Often ill fitting and heavy school bags are something that is suggested to be adjusted in many school age children with hunched shoulders.
  • Manual therapy techniques are sometimes beneficial particularly when the individual is in the middle of a painful episode. Manual therapy can be used with an emphasis on maintaining extension and spinal rotation movements of the thoracic and thoracolumbar spine. Mobilisation and manipulation techniques of the spine as provided by a physiotherapist may help offer short term symptomatic relief in the management of Scheuermann’s disease. With this in mind manual therapy is sometimes used to good effect during times of increased pain such as around exam time or growth spurts.

What Is The Prognosis Of Scheuermann’s Disease?

As a rule the pain associated with Scheuermann’s disease will eventually pass. For the majority of individuals there will be no further “trouble” from the condition once growth has finished. However some individuals will be left with reduced movement of the spine and if there is significant kyphosis and hunched shoulders present then there may be some ongoing postural issues and discomfort. It is possible Scheuermann’s disease develops in a way that the spinal cord or internal organs like the lungs are impacted, but again this is rare. Things that can be done to reduce the chances of having problems in the future include:

  • working to maintain good flexibility in the spine
  • as well as keeping the stabilizing trunk muscles strong to help maintain “better” posture and control over the vertebra at rest and during movement.

Your physiotherapist is perfectly placed to help assist with any pain management needs, as well as the improvement of mobility and strength, and ergonomic alterations to help with the management of hunched shoulders.

Disclaimer: Sydney Physio Clinic provides this information as an educational service and is not intended to serve as medical advice. Anyone seeking specific advice or assistance on How To Manage Your Hunched Shoulders should consult his or her physiotherapist, general practitioner or otherwise appropriately skilled practitioner.