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3856 Kyphosis



Kyphosis is a forward rounding of the upper back. While a certain amount of rounding is normal, the term Kyphosis usually refers to an exaggerated rounding, which is sometimes referred to as a round back or hunchback. This can occur at any age and is most common in older women where the deformity is known as a Dowager`s hump.

Symptoms include muscle fatigue and stiffness in the back. These symptoms remain constant and do not become progressively worse over time. In severe situations, the patient may notice his or her symptoms worsening over time. In rare cases, this can lead to compression of the spinal cord accompanied by neurological symptoms such as weakness, loss of sensation, loss of bowel movement, loss of bladder control, and difficulty in breathing.


In adults, Kyphosis can be caused by:

  • Degenerative diseases of the spine such as arthritis or disk degeneration
    • Fractures caused by osteoporosis
    • Injury (trauma)
    • Slipping of one vertebra forward on another (Spondylolisthesis)

Other causes include:

  • Connective tissue disorders
    • Certain endocrine diseases
    • Muscular dystrophy
    • Neurofibromatosis
    • Paget`s disease
    • Polio
    • Spinal bifida
    • Tumors

Risk factors are higher in certain groups of individuals:

  • Boys between the ages 10 & 15 are at a greater risk of Scheuermann`s Kyphosis.
    • Adolescent girls with poor posture are at a greater risk of Postural Kyphosis.
    • Older adults with osteoporosis are at a greater risk of spinal fractures that can contribute to Kyphosis.
    • People who have connective tissue disorders such as Marfan syndrome are also at a greater risk.

Complications caused by Kyphosis include:

Body image problems- Adolescents may develop a poor body image from having a rounded back or from wearing a brace to correct the condition.
Breathing difficulties- In severe cases, the curve may cause the rib cage to press against the lungs, inhibiting one`s ability to breathe.
Back pain- In some cases, the misalignment of the spine can lead to pain which can become severe and disabling.

Treatment for Kyphosis depends on an individual`s age, the cause of the curvature and its effects. Early diagnosis and bracing can reduce the need for surgery, but there is no way to prevent the disease.

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