Kyphosis is defined as a curvature of the upper back measuring 50 degrees or greater when viewed from the side. A normal spine can bend between 20 and 45 degrees in the upper back area when viewed from the side and is usually straight when viewed from behind. A spine affected by kyphosis shows a forward curvature of the back bones or vertebrae in the upper back area, giving an abnormally rounded or "humpback" appearance. Kyphosis can occur at any stage in life but rarely occurs at birth.
You may experience one or more of these symptoms of kyphosis:
Kyphosis itself does not typically cause any pain in the body unless it's associated with other conditions affecting the spine.
Initially your doctor will provide a physical examination and gather your medical history. During the physical exam, the doctor will confirm the abnormal curve of the spine and check for neurological changes such as weakness, paralysis or changes in sensation below the curve. More thorough tests may include:
In adults, the causes of kyphosis are numerous and include:
Kyphosis in Adolescents
Scheuermann's kyphosis develops during adolescence without a known cause and results from the melding or wedging of several vertebrae in the spine.
Treatment for kyphosis usually concentrates on correcting the underlying issues that caused the spinal deformity and is dependent upon its severity. Corrective measures range from back braces and therapy for Scheuermann’s disease to corrective surgery such as kyphoplasty or spinal fusion surgery.
The multidisciplinary team of orthopaedic experts at North Shore-LIJ Orthopaedic Institute's Spine Services in New York treats kyphosis as well as a broad range of spine conditions that can occur at any stage of life.
The Rehabilitation Network of the North Shore-LIJ Health System is dedicated to providing you and your family with result-oriented, comprehensive rehabilitation services. Our goal is to help you and your loved ones find relief from pain and get moving again after an accident, illness, injury or surgery. We’re your partner in a safe, healthy, more rapid recovery.