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Kyphosis

Kyphosis is a condition characterized by abnormal curvature of the spine that causes rounding of the upper back (hunchback). Kyphosis usually affects the thoracic spine, but can also involve the cervical and lumbar portions of the spine. It can occur in children and adults. Kyphosis causes the body to become pitched forward and can be painful and interfere with proper balance and posture.

Kyphosis can be categorized into the following major types:

  • Postural kyphosis: This usually develops due to poor posture.
  • Structural kyphosis: This is caused by an abnormality affecting the bones and soft tissues of the spine.
  • Scheuermann’s kyphosis: It is also known as adolescent kyphosis, caused by abnormal wedging together of several neighboring vertebral bodies.
  • Congenital kyphosis: It refers to a type of curvature that is present at birth.
  • Post-Traumatic kyphosis: It is a condition that results from spinal injuries such as a vertebral fracture in the spine.
  • Degenerative kyphosis: It is a condition of the aging spine, caused by degeneration or wear and tear of the spine.

Causes
The causes of kyphosis include:

  • Compression fractures can occur from osteoporosis
  • Disc degeneration
  • Spondylolisthesis
  • Arthritis affecting the spine
  • Injury to the spine
  • Infections such as tuberculosis
  • Birth defects such as spina bifida
  • Inherited disorders (muscular dystrophy and neurofibromatosis)
  • Cancer or benign tumor
  • Certain endocrine disorders

Symptoms
Patients with kyphosis may have a hump appearance of the back (hunchback), mild pain, muscle fatigue and stiffness in the back. In severe cases of kyphosis, difficulty in breathing may also develop as a result of pressure over the lungs.
Your doctor will take a brief history which includes family history, history of your present symptoms, and past medical history. Then, a physical examination and neurological examination is done to assess reflexes, strength of the muscles and sensation in order to make a proper diagnosis. Your doctor may perform an Adam’s forward bending test, in which you are asked to bend forward from the waist and the doctor will look for a rounded curve. X-rays of your spine may be used to determine the degree of curvature. The MRI or CT scan can help to determine nerve and spinal cord abnormalities. Pulmonary function tests may be done if kyphosis affects breathing.

Treatment
Kyphosis may be mild or range from moderate to severe. Treatment depends on the type and cause of the condition and may include non-surgical and surgical treatments.  Conservative treatment such as medications, exercises, and support braces to the spine may be helpful to help relieve non-structural symptoms. Surgery may be considered for congenital and large kyphotic curves. Surgical treatment options for kyphosis include spinal fusion (bone grafts) and instrumentation (screws, rods). The aim of the surgery is to correct the curve halt the curve progression, treat the deformity, and to stabilize the spine. Surgery includes fusion and instrumentation

Your surgeon will discuss with you the surgical options and potential risks and benefits and recommends the most appropriate procedure for you. Your doctor is your best source of information to answer all your questions and help you understand the condition better

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Houston Neck and Spine Specialists

Advanced Orthopedics and sports medicine has Board Certified/Eligible physicians who are thoroughly educated in the latest treatment techniques both surgical and conservative. The spine surgeons practice conservatively utilizing minimally invasive techniques whenever possible. Should surgery be required, options range from out-patient spinal surgery to major spinal reconstruction and management of scoliosis.

Contact us today to Schedule an Appointment or call us at 281-955-2650 to learn more about our Neck and Spine Treatment options.

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