WHAT IS KYPHSOSIS?
Kyphosis is an abnormal rounding of the upper back that often develops in adolescence or young adulthood. Though a small curve in the upper back is typically normal, kyphosis involves an excessive spinal curve that creates discomfort and pain. These abnormalities in curvature of the spine can cause poor posture, age-related weakness and kyphosis. This condition is sometimes referred to as “hunchback” or “round-back.”
WHAT CAUSES KYPHSOSIS?
The reason as to why an individual may develop kyphosis is normally attributed to the bones of the spine (vertebrae) becoming wedge shaped instead of keeping their healthy, cylindrical shape. This change in shape may be due in part to:
- Bone thinning (osteoporosis)
- Age-related degeneration
- Scheuermann’s disease (hyperlink)
- Birth defects
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS ASSOCIATED KYPHSOSIS?
The main symptoms of kyphosis are discomfort, pain, and functional limitations associated with abnormal spinal curvature. Moreover, there may be indirect ailments such as:
- Respiratory distress (undue pressure on lungs)
- Poor Posture
- Muscle Weakness
- Gastrointestinal dysfunction
- Mental health disparities due to one’s physical appearance
HOW DO YOU DIAGNOSE KYPHSOSIS?
In order to properly diagnose Kyphosis, your physician will obtain a detailed medical history and conduct a thorough physical exam. The physical exam may require patient’s to bend at the waist so that the spinal curvature can be observed from a patient’s side.
For further confirmation, or exploration of associated symptoms or underlying causes, your physician may recommend extra studies in the form of X-Rays, MRIs, CTs, Nerve Tests, and/or bone density tests.
HOW DO YOU TREAT KYPHSOSIS?
Generally, it is advised to have conservative care as a first line treatment option for most spinal related conditions. This may include but not limited to physical therapy, non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (ibuprofen or naproxen), bone-strengthening medication, and/or bracing.
When conservative methods fail to improve patient’s symptoms or the patient’s condition is too severe to treat conservatively due to jeopardy of nerve injury, then your physician may recommend surgery.