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Kyphosis : Types, Causes, Symptoms and Diagnosis

When viewed from behind, a normal spine will appear straight. Nevertheless, a forward curvature of the back bones (vertebrae) in the upper back area can be viewed as evidence of a spine affected by kyphosis, giving a “humpback” or an abnormally rounded appearance.

Kyphosis is referred to as a curvature of the spine that measures 50 degrees or more on an X-ray - a diagnostic test that utilises invisible electromagnetic energy beams in order to produce images of organs, bones, and internal tissues onto film. Kyphosis is a type of spinal deformity. The normal spine can usually bend from 20 - 45 degrees of curvature in the upper back area.

What are the Different Types of Kyphosis?

Postural Kyphosis

Postural kyphosis also known as postural roundback, refers to thoracic kyphosis that is greater than 50 degrees with normal-shaped vertebrae. This type of kyphosis often improves with exercises and is flexible.

Scheuermann’s Kyphosis

Scheuermann’s kyphosis is another type of kyphosis where the vertebrae have developed into a wedge shape. This type of kyphosis can worsen with growth and is more rigid. This happens to 0.4 percent of the population, affecting both males and females equally.

Congenital Kyphosis

A diagnosis of congenital kyphosis could result in a difference in the shape of one or more vertebrae. This difference can be detected at birth and the child is noted at birth to have an outwardish curve of the spine. With growth, this curve may become more noticeable.

What Causes Kyphosis?

Kyphosis can be present at birth (congenital) or may be due to acquired conditions that include the following:

Osteogenesis imperfecta, also known as brittle bone disease; a condition that results in bones fracturing with minimal force.

Metabolic problems

Spina bifida

Neuromuscular conditions

Scheuermann’s kyphosis: a condition that results in the vertebrae curving forward in the upper back area; the reason behind Scheuermann’s kyphosis is unknown and is often seen in males.

Postural kyphosis: the most commonly occurring type of kyphosis; it often becomes noticeable in adolescence and could be linked to slouching versus a spinal abnormality. Exercise is recommended to help correct posture.

Kyphosis is more commonly seen in females than males.

What are the Symptoms of Kyphosis?

The following are some of the most commonly reported symptoms of kyphosis. Nonetheless, every individual might experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:

Tight hamstrings muscles

The height of the upper back appears higher than normal when bending forward

The head starts to bend forward compared to the rest of the body

Difference in shoulder blade position or height

Difference in shoulder height

Back pain may also be present, but usually it isn’t significant enough to impact normal activity

Parents and family may comment on the child’s “poor posture” or even use the term “hunchback” or “humpback” to describe the child’s posture.

How is kyphosis diagnosed?

The doctor makes the diagnosis of kyphosis by first asking about complete medical history, followed by diagnostic tests and physical examination. If the patient is a kid, the doctor may ask for a complete prenatal and birth history of her or him and even check if other family members are known to have kyphosis. Since a few types of kyphosis could be associated with other neuromuscular disorders, the doctor will also ask about developmental milestones.

Diagnostic procedures may include:

X-rays. A diagnostic test that utilises invisible electromagnetic energy beams in order to produce images of internal organs, tissues, and even bones onto film. This test is used to evaluate and measure the curve. By utilising a standing lateral, full-spine X-ray, the radiologist or doctor measures the angle of the spinal curve. If the curve is greater than 50 degrees it is considered as hyperkyphosis or abnormal.

If you’re looking for an orthopedist in Bangalore for consultation with respect to Kyphosis, or other pain issues in relation to any of the following: elbow, ankle, shoulder, hip, knee, hamstring, back, or neck, you can get in touch with 1Health Medical Center. Our expert Orthopedist will make the necessary observations, prescribe the right tests, and eventually use the test results to arrive at a treatment plan which will help you mitigate the problem.


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