Kyphosis is the abnormal forward bending of the spine. In moderate to severe kyphosis the curve of the spine can form a hump.
The normal spine rounds slightly in the chest area, with arching in the lower back and neck regions. Excessive kyphosis can occur mainly in the chest area of the spine, causing the roundness of the back to appear exaggerated.
Symptoms are usually minimal, unless the deformity is severe. In that case, the back may ache or, rarely, nerve problems may arise. The hamstrings, or muscles at the back of the thigh, may also be tight.
Kyphosis can be caused by an abnormal posture. However, other causes may include: a significant fracture of the vertebra, which can cause the back to angle forwardspinal surgeryScheuermann's disease, which results in wedging of the vertebrae. This disease is usually seen in teenage boys, and its cause is unknown.Pott's disease, which refers to kyphosis due to collapse of the vertebra when tuberculosis infects the spineosteoporosis is one of the most common causes and results in a hump in the back called dowager's humpspinal tumors, or surgery to remove themnerve disorderscongenital kyphosis from a malformation of the spine at birth
Most cases of kyphosis cannot be prevented. One prominent exception is the risk of osteoporosis and fractures of the spine which can be lowered if a person has an adequate intake of calcium and regular weight-bearing exercise. Medications called bisphonates can prevent or treat osteopenia or osteoporosis and may prevent kyphosis. Also, hormone therapy may help prevent osteoporosis in perimenopausal women. Early treatment of tuberculosis can help prevent Pott's disease.
Kyphosis is diagnosed based on signs of forward bending of the spine, confirmed by x-ray.
Long-term effects are minimal to none if the deformity is mild. There is an increased chance of backache and concern about one's physical appearance. With Scheuermann's disease, there is possible progression during adolescence.
There are no risks to others.
Certain exercises may improve kyphosis related to posture. In growing children with significant Scheuermann's disease, bracing may be needed. Spinal fusion surgery is rarely needed.
Surgery can possibly lead to infection, failure of the bone to fuse, or spinal cord or nerve injury.
Progressive kyphosis may occur in spite of exercises and bracing.
One should watch for potential worsening of posture. Any new or worsening symptoms should be reported to the healthcare provider.