Kyphosis is the abnormal curving of the spine that leads to bowing or rounding of the back, resulting in a hunchback or a permanently slouched posture. Kyphosis in adolescents can also be called Scheuermann’s disease, where bones of the spine become wedged together.
Typically, kyphosis is caused by chronic slouching during adolescence, which shifts the position of spinal bones. Other causes include imbalances in hamstrings or hip flexors, degenerative diseases like arthritis, compression fractures resulting from osteoporosis, trauma or slipped vertebrae. Less commonly, it is caused by endocrine diseases, infection, muscular dystrophy, neurofibromatosis, polio and spina bifida. In some cases, it is also caused by spinal tumors.
- Back pain
- Hunchback appearance
- Difficulty breathing
- Tenderness in the spine
- Stiffness in the spine
The first step to diagnose and receive kyphosis treatment is to observe and measure the curve of the spine. Our specialists may also recommend an X-ray.
- Observation: In some cases, especially for children, we may want to continuously check in with the spine growth to determine if future treatment will be necessary.
- Bracing: A brace may be worn to prevent further curving in patients still growing.
- Physical therapy: Physical therapy is the leading approach used to strengthen the core and back muscles. This helps to alleviate pain associated with kyphosis.
- Surgery: For patients who have severe pain or extreme spinal curvature, spinal fusion surgery can fix the shape of the spine.