Kyphosis is an abnormal curving of the spine usually occurring in the thoracic region resulting in a roundback or hunchback appearance. Kyphosis can also occur in the cervical and lumbar regions although this is less frequent.
Causes of Kyphosis include:
- Osteoporosis: Compression fractures can occur in the vertebrae as a result of osteoporosis leading to Kyphosis.
- Scheuermann's Disease: Also referred to as adolescent Kyphosis, this disease causes adjacent vertebra to wedge together leading to Kyphosis.
- Spondylolisthesis: This condition occurs when one vertebra slips forward in relation to an adjacent vertebra causing misalignment and potential entrapment of the spinal nerves. This condition can be congenital (present at birth) or can develop in childhood or adulthood.
- Disc Degeneration: As people age, vertebral discs can lose moisture and shrink leading to Kyphosis.
- Injury to the spine
- Infections such as tuberculosis and polio.
- Birth Defects such as Spina Bifida.
- Inherited Disorders such as muscular dystrophy and neurofibromatosis.
Treatment for Kyphosis will depend on the cause of the condition.
Treatment options include:
- Bracing: If the cause of Kyphosis is Scheuermann's disease, your physician may recommend wearing a brace to prevent the curve from worsening while the patient is still growing.
- Physical Therapy: Your physician may recommend referral to a Physical therapist to instruct you on a home exercise program to increase your range of motion, flexibility, and strength.
- Medications: If the cause of Kyphosis is osteoporosis, your physician may recommend medications to prevent future compression fractures. Kyphosis caused by infections or tumors will also require medications for treatment.
- Surgery: Your physician may recommend surgery if your Kyphosis is debilitating and painful and does not respond to conservative treatment methods. Congenital Kyphosis, occurring at birth, usually will require surgery at an early age. Patients with Scheuermann's disease with a large, painful curve over 60 degrees may also require surgery.