Kyphosis, also known as roundback or hunchback, is a condition in which the spine in the upper back has an excessive curvature. The upper back, or thoracic region of the spine, is supposed to have a slight natural curve. The spine naturally curves... Read More
Kyphosis, also known as roundback or hunchback, is a
condition in which the spine in the upper back has an excessive curvature. The
upper back, or thoracic region of the spine, is supposed to have a slight
natural curve. The spine naturally curves in the neck, upper back, and lower
back to help absorb shock and support the weight of the head. Kyphosis occurs
when this natural arch is larger than normal.
If you have kyphosis, you may have a visible hump on your
upper back. From the side, your upper back may be noticeably rounded or
protruding. In addition, people with hunchback appear to be slouching and have
noticeable rounding of the shoulders. Kyphosis can lead to excess pressure on
the spine, causing pain. It may also cause breathing difficulties due to pressure
put on the lungs.
Kyphosis in elderly women is known as dowager’s hump.
causes of kyphosis
Kyphosis can affect people of any age. It rarely occurs in
newborns because it’s usually caused by poor posture. Kyphosis caused by poor
posture is called postural kyphosis.
Other potential causes of kyphosis include:
- aging, especially if you have poor posture
- muscle weakness in the upper back
- Scheuermann’s disease, which occurs in children and has
no known cause
- arthritis or other bone degeneration diseases
- osteoporosis, the loss of bone
strength due to age
- injury to the spine
- slipped discs
- scoliosis, or spinal curvature
The following conditions less commonly lead to kyphosis:
- infection in the spine
- birth defects, such as spina bifida
- diseases of the endocrine system
- diseases of the connective tissues
- Paget’s disease
- muscular dystrophy
to seek treatment for kyphosis
You should seek treatment if your kyphosis is accompanied
- breathing difficulties
Much of our bodily movement depends on the health of the
spine, including our:
Getting treatment to help correct the curvature of your
spine may help you reduce the risk of complications later in life, including
arthritis and back pain.
Treatment for kyphosis will depend on its severity and
underlying cause. Here are some of the more common causes and treatments:
- Scheuermann’s disease: A child may receive
physical therapy, braces, or corrective surgery.
- Infection: Your doctor will probably prescribe
antibiotics for you.
- Tumors: Typically, tumors are only removed if
there’s concern for spinal cord compression. If this is present, the surgeon
may try to remove the tumor, but frequently this destabilizes the bone. In such
cases, a spinal fusion is often also necessary.
- Osteoporosis: It’s essential to treat bone
deterioration to prevent kyphosis from worsening.
- Poor posture: You will not need aggressive
The following treatments may help relieve the symptoms of
- medication, to relieve pain, if necessary
- physical therapy, to help build strength in the core
and back muscles
- yoga, to increase body awareness and build strength,
flexibility, and range of motion
- weight loss, to relieve excess burden on the spine
- braces, especially in children and teens
- surgery, in severe cases
of untreated kyphosis
For most people, kyphosis does not cause serious health
problems. This is dependent on the cause of the kyphosis. If kyphosis is caused
by poor posture, you may suffer from pain and breathing difficulties. These
will only get worse later in life.
You can treat kyphosis early by:
- strengthening the muscles of the back
- seeing a physical therapist
Your goal will be to improve your posture long-term to
decrease pain and other symptoms.