Kyphosis: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis & Treatment

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Kyphosis is a condition in which the spine is abnormally shaped, causing a visible hump in the upper back. In this article, you will learn more about the causes, symptoms and treatment of kyphosis.

The spine is made up of 24 rectangular-shaped bones called vertebrae which are soft discs that act as shock absorbers. The structure of the vertebrae has a slight curve and are held together by ligaments which support the back.

In the case of kyphosis, the middle section of the vertebrae, known as thoracic vertebrae is abnormally curved . This makes the upper back look protruded. Kyphosis usually occurs due to poor posture or abnormally shaped vertebrae. It mostly occurs in elderly women.

Other conditions that cause kyphosis are osteoporosis, arthritis, muscle weakness in the upper back, spine injury, Scheuermann's disease, scoliosis, tuberculosis, cancer, and Paget's disease.

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Kyphosis caused due to poor posture is called postural kyphosis which has one symptom - it makes your back look hunched over, with the shoulders rounded forward. In cases of mild kyphosis, there are no signs or symptoms. However, some symptoms like stiffness in the upper back, tight hamstrings or back pain can emerge.

1. Congenital kyphosis - It is genetic disease which is the result of malformation spine in the womb . There are two types of congenital kyphosis - type 1 and type 2. Type 1 is the deformity at birth and worsens as the individual grows and type 2 is when two or more vertebrae form normal discs.

2. Scheuermann's kyphosis - It develops during adolescence which causes abnormal growth in the vertebrae .

3. Degenerative kyphosis - This type of kyphosis occurs when the spine discs are leaned forward at an angle at the neck which causes as a result of excess strain activity .

4. Postural kyphosis - It occurs as a result of poor posture which is the most common type of kyphosis.

5. Neuromuscular kyphosis - It happens in children with neuromuscular disorders.

6. Nutritional kyphosis - It occurs as a result of insufficient nutrients like vitamin D.

7. Latrogenic kyphosis - This type of kyphosis occur as a result of surgery in the spine .

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When you notice a curved spine bulging out, immediately visit your doctor. Also if you have a stiff back, persistent back pain, tightness in the hamstrings and fever, you should visit the doctor.

The doctor will conduct a physical exam and ask about your medical history. He or she may ask you to stretch to check your reflexes, movement and balance. The doctor may also conduct other tests like X-ray, nerve test, bone density tests and MRI.

The treatment procedure will help in restoring the normal posture and preventing the curve from worsening. The treatment options are:

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