Spinal Deformity From Kyphosis

Posted Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Did You Know? Kyphosis is most common in older woman

American’s Spend at Least 50 Billion Dollars on Back Pain Treatments Per Year 

Humans are born with 33 individual vertebrae, as you age different sections of the vertebra fuse together leaving 26 individual vertebrae

Conditions affecting the spine can cause lifelong pain and suffering and are a great concern to patients. While kyphosis is incurable there are several options available to manage symptoms.   Please use this guide as a resource for knowledge and understanding of kyphosis causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment.


The individual bones (vertebrae) that make up a healthy spine look like cylinders stacked in a column. Kyphosis occurs when the vertebrae in the upper back become more wedge-shaped. This deformity can be caused by a variety of problems, including:

  • Osteoporosis
  • Disk degeneration
  • Scheuermann's disease.
  • Birth defects
  • Syndromes
  • Cancer and cancer treatments


Symptoms can range from mild, requiring no treatment, to severe symptoms that are best treated with surgery. Depending on the underlying cause of the condition, typical symptoms include one or more of the following:

  • A hunched forward appearance, usually most pronounced when viewed from the side as the patient is bending forward
  • Mild to severe back pain
  • Loss of height
  • Difficulty standing straight upright, worsening over the course of a day
  • Fatigue

In the most severe cases, additional symptoms may develop, such as difficulty breathing due to compression of the lungs, or loss of appetite. Mild cases may not have any noticeable signs or symptoms


A physical examination is performed after assessing medical history to assess the curve of your spine both standing upright and while bending forward. Your strength, sensation, reflexes, and flexibility in your arms and legs will also be tested. Based on the results of the history and physical examination, your physician may order X-rays of your spine. If your doctor finds any evidence of neurologic injury, you may also obtain an MRI of your spine. This can identify any compression of the spinal cord or nerves. If you have any chest pain or shortness of breath, your physician may order additional tests to evaluate your heart and lungs


Treatment options will vary significantly based on what symptoms are occurring and what type of kyphosis is diagnosed. Often physical therapy is necessary to strengthen muscles and correct posture. Anti-inflammatory medication and mild pain medication are often prescribed to relieve discomfort and alleviate pressure. Braces may be beneficial to young patients diagnosed with kyphosis who are still growing. Surgery is a final option for severe cases of kyphosis, or in cases where it may benefit a young patient. 

For more information on kyphosis and other orthopedic related conditions, please visit: http://www.aaos.org

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