Kyphosis Disorder & Their Different Classification Types That Occur

Definition

Kyphosis is a deformity of the spine that causes a forward-curved position of the upper or thoracic spine.  A person’s posture, or the way they position their body normally changes many times during the day. But sometimes, a person's posture becomes excessive and inflexible or rigid. This is what happens in kyphosis. It is sometimes called “round back” or “humpback.”

The normal curvature in the upper spine can start to increase after the age of 40, and continues with aging. Both men and women can develop kyphosis, and with time, it can become excessive. The more severe the curvature, the higher the risk of health problems associated with the condition.

Kyphosis can be caused by health conditions like osteoporosis (thinning of the bones), and spinal fractures that happen due to this disorder, but most kyphosis occurs as a result of conditions other than fractured vertebrae. These causes of kyphosis can include:

  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Poor posture habits
  • Weak muscles
  • Degeneration in ligaments
  • Kyphosis can also be caused by heredity factors
In a normal spine, the vertebrae (backbones) lie stacked in a column. Intervertebral discs are between each pair of vertebrae. Kyphosis occurs when, instead of small cylinders, the bones in the upper spine begin to change shape, becoming like wedges. Know more about reasons of kyphosis...

A rounded or humped back is the most prominent sign of kyphosis. This comes about slowly, and results in a loss of height. As the condition progresses, kyphosis can result in the person having trouble with normal activities of life that involve bending over. Problems with balance may also occur, and unusual fatigue is sometimes noted with kyphosis. In severe cases, kyphosis can cause respiratory or breathing problems.  

Several different forms of kyphosis exist. Some of these include:  

  • Postural kyphosis
  • Scheuermann's kyphosis
  • Congenital kyphosis
  • Nutritional kyphosis
  • Gibbus deformity
  • Post-traumatic kyphosis 
Know more about each kyphosis type and classification...

Kyphosis cannot be prevented according to available research, but maintaining and improving physical fitness and posture can improve the condition and prevent its progression due to aging.  

Healthy bones rely on adequate nutrition. Maintaining an adequate intake of the minerals and vitamins essential to bone health, like vitamin D, can help prevent diseases like rickets that eventually lead to kyphosis. Dietary deficiencies can cause bones to become fragile or soft, and the outcome is abnormal curves of the spine. Seeking appropriate medical attention after an injury or accident can also help in the prevention of kyphosis.  

In older adults, kyphosis is often the result of thinning bones so kyphosis prevention includes treating or preventing osteoporosis. Some of the recommended treatments for osteoporosis are identical to the recommended steps in the prevention of kyphosis. More recomendations on kyphosis prevention. 

What your doctor recommends as kyphosis treatment depends on several different factors. These include: 

  • Your other health conditions and medical history, and your age 
  • How severe the spinal deformity is
  • How well you are able to tolerate different kyphosis treatments, therapies or medications
  • How the form of kyphosis that has been diagnosed is predicted to progress 
  • Your wishes or preferences regarding your treatment for kyphosis 

The goals of treatment for kyphosis in children are aimed at minimizing the deformities caused by the disease and stopping the progression of the curvature. Know more about kyphosis treatment...

Image drawing of kyphosis disorder of the thoracic spine being curved forward. Kyphosis2-2