Kyphosis comes from the Greek word ‘kyphos’ which means ‘hump’. So its pretty selfdescriptive in that it is the condition where a person has a hunched upper back. Ordinarily, the thoracic spine (upper back) has a natural forward curvature. This allows the spine to bend and flex, absorbing shock which is transmitted to it. Typical kyphosis for this part of the body is considered 20 to 45 degrees. But when the curvature increases, it is very difficult for the body to effectively carry weight forward causing pain, (possible) progressive deformity and (sometimes) neurological loss of function. Most of the time however, the condition remains fairly constant without becoming progressively worse.

When this condition occurs along with scoliosis it is caused Kyphoscoliosis.

Symptoms

  • Poor posture
  • A ‘hump’ of the back or ‘hunchback’
  • Back pain
  • Fatigue
  • Stiffness of the back

Causes

  • Osteoporosis
  • Disk degeneration
  • Cancer and cancer treatments
  • Scheuermann’s disease: A hereditary disorder which typically affects more boys than girls during the pre-pubescent growth spurt
  • Birth defects: On some instances the spinal cord of a baby does not develop properly (within the womb) resulting in kyphosis

Treatment

This is determined by your doctor based on the severity of the condition. Less severe conditions can be treated with exercises which increase flexibility and improve core strength and posture. Children can be treated through the use of a body brace during their growth stages. Sometime injections of various medications are used to relieve pain. In very severe cases where the spinal cord is being pinched the doctor may recommend spinal fusion.

Case Study icon

A Case Study

Click here to read about a case study in Congenital Spinal Deformity