Understanding Kyphosis

Posted Thursday, February 21, 2019

Did You Know? There are more than 3 million cases of Kyphosis in the U.S. each year

There Are Two Types of Kyphosis: Postural and Structural 

Kyphosis is Most Common in Older Women and Often Related to Osteoporosis

Kyphosis is a forward curve of the upper back, which can cause the neck to jut forward and the back to have a rounded appearance. Postural kyphosis is caused by bad posture and can be corrected by the patient. Structural kyphosis is caused by a disorder and must be treated medically. Please use this guide as a resource for knowledge and understanding of kyphosis causes, symptoms and treatment. 


All spines should have a natural rounding of the upper back, but if the back curves too much, pain or other symptoms can occur. With structural kyphosis, disease or fractures can damage the vertebrae, causing them to collapse on one another creating a severe curve in the spine. Some of the diseases and disorders associated with kyphosis include:

  • Arthritis
  • Connective tissue disorders
  • Disc degeneration
  • Muscular dystrophy
  • Spina bifida
  • Scheuermann’s disease
  • Tumors
  • Osteoporosis

Congenital kyphosis occurs when an infant is born with missing or incompletely formed parts of the spine.  


In addition to the curvature of the back, other symptoms may include:

  • Mild to severe back pain or back pain with movement
  • Fatigue
  • Tenderness and stiffness of the spine
  • Forward posture of the head
  • Chest pain or difficulty breathing
  • Difference in shoulder height
  • Tight hamstrings


Treatment is dependent on the type and cause of kyphosis. For example, if the kyphosis is caused by a spine fracture, treatment will likely include bed rest and pain medication. Postural kyphosis treatment may include physical therapy and exercises to correct the patient’s posture.  In severe cases of kyphosis, which means a curve greater than 70⁰, surgery may be necessary. To correct the abnormal curve surgically, small pieces of bone are placed between the vertebrae to fuse the spine into a more normal curve. Special rods or other instruments are attached to the spine to help hold it in the correct position. Another surgical option is kyphoplasty, a minimally invasive procedure that helps restore the height of a vertebra that has been fractured, reducing the curvature of the spine. 

To learn more about kyphosis, please visit: https://www.spineuniverse.com/conditions/kyphosis 

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