Spinal Deformities: Treating Kyphosis


Spinal deformities can be caused by a variety of conditions and affect people at different ages. You’ve probably heard of scoliosis and neuromuscular disease — which can cause spinal deformities — but have you heard of kyphosis? This condition can affect any age group, but often is found in older patients.

What is kyphosis?

Kyphosis is a spinal deformity affecting the sagittal plane of the body, or one that divides the body in to left and right sides of a person. A spine affected by kyphosis will show evidence of a forward curvature of the vertebrae in the upper back area, giving a patient a “humpback” appearance. If you are experiencing a curvature of the spine, have an orthopedic specialist examine you.

What are the causes of kyphosis?

Kyphosis can be caused by a variety of factors, including:

1) Metabolic problems, or those that affect the normal metabolic processes in the body

2) Neuromuscular conditions, such as multiple sclerosis or muscular dystrophy

3) Osteogenesis imperfecta — also called “brittle bone disease” —which is a condition that causes bones to fracture with minimal force

4) Spina bifida, a birth defect characterized by the improper formation of the spine

5) Scheuermann’s disease, a condition of unknown origin that causes the vertebrae to curve forward in the upper back area and is commonly seen in males

How to treat kyphosis

Treatment for kyphosis, like other spinal deformities, will vary depending on the amount of pain the patient experiences and the degree of the curvature of the spine, as well as the progression of the curve or condition. Treatment could include:

Spinal deformities can also result from neurologic or muscular diseases, such as cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy or polio. If you have any questions about diagnosing a spine disorders, treating a spine issue or spinal surgery, talk to an orthopedic expert.

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