A hump in your life

What is Sheuermann's Kyphosis? What is it like to have it and live in a constant amount of pain?

Emily Cosner, East High Scroll

Did you know that .3 percent of people have Scheuermann’s Kyphosis, and nearly one third of people with Kyphosis develop Scoliosis? You may look at a person with Scheuermann’s Kyphosis and automatically think, wow, he/she looks like a hunchback. But little do you know, it’s a condition called Scheuermann’s Kyphosis.

Scheuermann’s Kyphosis is the curvature of the spine. You may see videos on TikTok or other social media platforms that make jokes about Scoliosis while they’re all hunched over. However, they are incorrect about what condition hunching over is. Kyphosis is the shape of your vertebrae. A normal vertebra should be in the shape of a regular square block, however, when you have Kyphosis, your vertebrae is in a wedge shape. Pretend you’re stacking three-ringed binders on top of one another. All the rings are on one side. The binders would stack as a curve instead of straight up, like it would be if you’re stacking books on top of each other. Such as the binders begin to curve, so does your spine.

If you have Schuermann’s Kyphosis, you may be thinking how do I take action? If your Scoliosis or Kyphosis is caught at a young age, you may be able to get a back brace to correct your spine as it is continuing to grow. Another option for more severe cases, is a spinal correction surgery. Although it’s rare to find a surgeon to do the surgery, finding one may be worth it to you.
“It changed my child’s life emotionally and mentally, as she no longer felt she was a normal person,” parent Wendy Cosner said.

Cosner begins to talk about the way it affected her life as a parent. It caused her worry, hoping her child wouldn’t be one of the unlucky ones that suffer heart failure through her back destroying her heart by pushing against it. During the diagnosis, she began to feel overwhelmed and inquisitive.

“It takes doctor appointment after doctor appointment. It almost feels like it never ends. I felt I needed to keep taking her because I was afraid if I didn’t, something new would happen and it would be too late,” Cosner said.
When you have Scheuermann’s Kyphosis, your physical capabilities can vary depending on how bad your case is. It may be harder to bend down, exercise, do sports, or just regular old everyday things. Pain may be a huge factor in your ability to do things. Bending, twisting, or just chilling out can make the pain rise.

“I used to love playing soccer, but after a while, I could no longer do it because of the pain my back brought me. Until I got my surgery, I didn’t really enjoy doing any physical activity,” former kyphosis survivor Jada Sorrei said.
If you’re thinking about having the surgery, you need to be aware of the preparation and the aftermath of it. It takes a series of doctor appointments to clear you for surgery. After you’re cleared, the doctor will give you an MRI and get labs done. However, the recovery from surgery is the worst part. Depending on how long it takes for you to get your body to begin healing, you can stay in the hospital for up to two weeks. During your hospital stay, they will help you sit up, stand and begin to walk. They will do arm exercises with you to help repair those muscles that had just been cut through.

“The few weeks after my surgery was one of the worst pains I have ever felt,” Sorrei said.

After surgery is where the real work begins. You have to begin readjusting your life. You must relearn to move and do things normally again. For the first six weeks, you can’t pick up anything heavier than a gallon of milk. You can’t sleep on your stomach, which is difficult if you’re a big stomach sleeper. It also gets very difficult if you get uncomfortable and need to readjust yourself. You may need some help when doing so.

“The list of frustrations in recovery can probably take up forty pages, but the recovery is always worth the end result,” Sorrei said.

Ariana Chale, a freshman at North High School watched her friend go through years of pain because of her back issues.

“The surgery seemed awful for her, but you could tell how happy she was after she had it. She looked like she was confident again instead of having a big bump on her back,” Chale said.
Although Chale didn’t understand at the time how painful her friends back was, she began to understand how much it meant for her to have the surgery and not be in so much pain anymore, even if that meant carrying a pillow around her school after she came back.

“I don’t know how she did it and went through something like that. I’m not sure I could do that and still keep a smile on my face,” Chale said.