Kyphosis is the abnormal curvature of the spine causing a rounded, or hunchback appearance. A curve of more than 50 degrees is considered to be abnormal. Symptoms can include the rounded back, back pain, stiffness and tenderness, and fatigue. Nerve damage can occur as a result of the bony deformity and an evaluation by a specialist including x-ray, MRI and pulmonary function test if the kyphosis is thought to be responsible for breathing difficulties should be undertaken to diagnose and treat kyphosis. Treatment can include bracing, medications and possible surgery to reduce the spinal curvature.
Acquired kyphosis typically develops in adults and can be related to degeneration from the aging process or from trauma, inflammation, osteoporosis, infection or cancer. A rounded, hunchback appearance is indicative of acquired kyphosis and once diagnosed through imaging and occasionally myelopathy if nerve involvement is suspected or even cardiac or pulmonary testing, treatments can include anti-inflammatory medications, bracing, exercises and surgery if it is associated with spinal stenosis.
Scheuremann’s Kyphosis (or Scheuremann’s Disease) is usually discovered in the teen years, and the deformity, which typically involves the thoracic spine, can be significant. It develops over time during periods of bone growth and the vertebrae become wedge-shaped rather than rectangular causing the curvature and creating a rounded-back deformity that is painless in most cases. Scheuremann’s Kyphosis is idiopathic, meaning that there is no clear cause for the disease. If there is a family history of this disease, observation should be undertaken for signs of development. Treatments can include observation, bracing in children who are still growing, and exercise.