Kyphosis is an exaggerated, forward rounding of the back. It can occur at any age but is most common in older women.
Age-related kyphosis is often due to weakness in the spinal bones that causes them to compress or crack. Other types of kyphosis can appear in infants or teens due to malformation of the spine or wedging of the spinal bones over time.
Mild kyphosis causes few problems. Severe kyphosis can cause pain and be disfiguring. Treatment for kyphosis depends on your age, and the cause and effects of the curvature.
An increased front-to-back curve of the upper spine is called kyphosis.
Mild kyphosis may produce no noticeable signs or symptoms. But some people experience back pain and stiffness in addition to an abnormally curved spine.
Make an appointment with your doctor if you notice an increased curve in your upper back or in your child's spine.
The individual bones (vertebrae) that make up a healthy spine look like cylinders stacked in a column. Kyphosis occurs when the vertebrae in the upper back become more wedge shaped.
Abnormal vertebrae can be caused by:
In addition to causing back pain, kyphosis may cause:
Your doctor will generally conduct a thorough physical examination, including checking your height. You may be asked to bend forward from the waist while your doctor views your spine from the side. Your doctor might also perform a neurological exam to check your reflexes and muscle strength.
After evaluating your signs and symptoms, your doctor may recommend:
Kyphosis treatment depends on the cause and severity of your condition.
Your doctor might suggest medication, including:
Therapy can help manage certain types of kyphosis. Your doctor might recommend:
Surgery might be recommended for severe kyphosis that is pinching the spinal cord or nerve roots. Spinal fusion is the most common procedure for reducing the degree of curvature. The surgeon inserts pieces of bone between the vertebrae and then fastens the vertebrae together with metal rods and screws until the spine heals together in a corrected position.
To help you maintain good bone density, your doctor might recommend:
You may be referred to a doctor who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of spine disorders (orthopedic surgeon).
In addition to the questions you've prepared to ask your doctor, don't hesitate to ask other questions that occur to you during your appointment.
Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions. Being ready to answer them may leave time to go over other points in greater detail. You may be asked: