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:
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:
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:
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...