Kyphosis is a condition that is characterized by a rounding or curving of the spine. It can lead to a permanent slouch in a person’s posture. Kyphosis may also be known as a roundback or a hunchback. While everyone has a slight curve in their spine, kyphosis causes the spine to be curved at an angle of fifty degrees or more. This is a significant difference. It is estimated that about four percent to eight percent of people have a type of kyphosis called Scheuermann’s kyphosis. The condition can occur among people of any age and in both men and women. However, older women are the most common group affected by this condition.
The only real symptom of kyphosis is a very abnormally curved spine. Other than that, the only symptoms you may experience include stiffness and back pain. When a person has kyphosis that is mild or moderate, they may not experience any signs or symptoms at all. What causes kyphosis? Kyphosis develops as a result of a deformity in the upper back that makes it abnormally curved. This can be caused by a number of different conditions such as osteoporosis, disk degeneration, Scheuermann's disease (also called Scheuermann's kyphosis), birth defects, syndromes (such as Marfan syndrome or Prader-Willi disease), and cancer and cancer treatments.
In order to diagnose kyphosis, your doctor may do a serious of tests such as an x-ray, a CT scan, or an MRI scan. They will also do a physical assessment to examine the curvature of your spine, and possibly a neurological exam to check your muscle strength and reflexes. Nerve tests may also be done if you are experiencing weakness or numbness in the mucles.
Treatment for kyphosis may include observation and physical exams, to track the progression of the curve, physical therapy, including exercises to improve strength, overall conditioning, and posture, sleeping on a firm mattress, a back brace, to help correct kyphosis or reduce discomfort , medication for pain or discomfort, medication for underlying conditions, such as osteoporosis, surgery to straighten the spine by fusing back bones, or an injection of special cement if the cause is vertebral compression fracture.