Kyphosis: Types, Causes, And Treatments For This Troublesome Back Condition

A noticeable hump on you or your teenage child's upper back may be a sign of a potentially serious problem called Kyphosis. This spinal condition sometimes makes it difficult to walk or perform daily activities without pain. However, you or your child don't have to live with Kyphosis and there are ways to lessen or correct the problem. Here are some things you should know about this orthopedic problem as well as how it can be corrected.

What is Kyphosis?

As said before, kyphosis is a hump or noticeable curve in the middle and upper spine. Some curvature in the upper spine is normal, but if this curvature is more than a certain number of degrees, then your doctor may diagnose it as abnormal. In many cases, this condition causes pain from pinched nerves and swelling in this area as well as mobility problems.

Who Gets Kyphosis?

Anyone of any age can get kyphosis, but the condition is common in teens as well as older women. Very rarely, babies are born with kyphosis, but it is more likely to be acquired or progress with age. People who worked in hunched-over positions are also at higher risk for kyphosis.

What Causes Kyphosis?

Kyphosis is often a problem with the bone structure itself, such as a congenital problem or an injury, as well as with the upper back muscles. Children and teens may have a condition called Scheuermann's kyphosis where the actual bones are curved or misshaped, but the cause is unknown. Children with spina bifida also are more likely to have kyphosis. Older women get this condition from osteoporosis and degenerative disc disease.

However, sometimes kyphosis is caused by consistent and long-term bad posture. If you or your child are constantly hunched over, such as while working on a computer or looking at a phone, then your back muscles can become weak. However, postural kyphosis often doesn't progress to a serious level.

How Can Kyphosis Be Corrected?

Postural kyphosis is easily corrected by practicing correct posture as well as strengthening the muscles in the upper back. Strengthening the muscles is also beneficial for mild forms of other types of non-painful kyphosis. Back braces, along with physical therapy, are also effective. However, if you or your child is experiencing severe pain and mobility problems, then orthopedic surgery may be the only way to correct the problem.

Kyphosis may worsen under certain circumstances, so early diagnosis is important so that the problem can be corrected before becoming a problem. If you've noticed a hard hump or curvature in you or your child's spine, then see an orthopedic physician for an examination and tests to confirm the problem and rule out other issues.