What is Kyphosis?

Updated: Nov 10, 2020

Kyphosis is when the middle section of the spine curves and causes the spine to appear more rounded at the top of the neck. Although everyone has curvature in their spine, if it is past 45 degrees, it is considered excessive. There are a number of reasons that can cause kyphosis, such as:

  • Bad posture - slouching, sitting badly on chairs or carrying heavy bags can stretch the muscles and ligament that support the back, meaning that there is an increased spinal curvature. This is called postural kyphosis

  • Abnormal vertebrae - if vertebrae do not form normally, it can result in them being out of position. This is called Scheuermann’s kyphosis.

  • Abnormal development in the spine - if spinal development is disrupted in the womb, this can result in two or more vertebrae fusing, which can result in an abnormal curve in the spine. This is called congenital kyphosis.

  • Age - as people age their spinal curvature can increase, which can result in kyphosis.

In some cases, the patient will not experience any symptoms other that a visual difference, such as an abnormal curved or hunched back. However in some more severe cases patients can experience symptoms such as:

  • Fatigue

  • Stiffness in the back

  • Tenderness along the spine

  • Back pain

  • Stooped posture

Back pain can be more severe in adults as the rest of the body compensate to deal with the spinal abnormality. As the symptoms get worse, patients may also experience pain while breathing and eating.

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