Kyphosis is a hunch in the back caused by an excessive curve in the upper spine. This condition can occur at any age but is most often seen in the older population. There are only a few issues that are caused by a mild form of kyphosis; however, when severe, it can cause disfigurement and pain.
Scheuermann’s Kyphosis: This form is seen mostly in the male population and causes a curve in the spine in the upper back. The cause of Scheuermann’s Kyphosis is unknown.
Postural Kyphosis: This is the most common form which begins to appear in childhood with the appearance of a “slouching” posture.
Kyphosis can have no apparent cause, be present at birth, or it can develop as a result of other conditions, including:
Neuromuscular Conditions: cerebral palsy, spina bifida, or muscular dystrophy
Osteogenesis Imperfecta: a rare condition leading to brittle bones that can fracture easily with minimal force
Symptoms may vary from patient to patient. Some symptoms that may be experienced include:
Mild back pain
Head may appear to bend forward
Difference in shoulder height and shoulder blade position
Middle of the back appears to be higher than normal when bending forward
To diagnose, your doctor will perform a clinical exam and ask you a number of questions regarding your symptoms. Your doctor may look for abnormalities via a physical examination, X-rays, computed tomography (CT) scans, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
Treatment for Kyphosis is generally conservative. When appropriate, non-surgical intervention is the first choice and includes:
1. Medications (anti-inflammatories, muscle relaxants, steroids)
2. Bracing: generally recommended in actively grown children
3. Physical Therapy (core strengthening, stretching, soft tissue release)
4. Steroid Injections (epidural, facet blocks)