Kyphosis

Overview

This unnatural spine curving is a deformation caused by disease or damage to the vertebrae.


How it Forms

Kyphosis has several causes. Bad posture can loosen the spine's ligaments, causing a curve to develop over time. Disease or physical damage to the spine's bones can weaken and collapse the vertebrae, allowing the spine to curve. Conditions that are common culprits include osteoporosis, Scheuermann's disease, Pott's disease, and spinal tumors.


Symptoms

In most cases, the only symptom may be the slight appearance of a hump in the upper back. If the kyphosis is severe, the person may have neck and lower back aches. Only a physician using x-rays can make an accurate diagnosis.


Treatment

Most people with kyphosis don't need treatment. Risks can be limited by increasing calcium intake and weight-bearing exercises to strengthen bones. An orthopedic brace may prevent further curvature in growing children if intervention is needed. In very few cases, spinal fusion surgery may straighten and stabilize the spine.