What is kyphosis?

A normal spine, when viewed from behind appears staright, However, a spine Affected by kyphosis shows evidence of a forward curvature of the back bones (vertebrae) in the upper back area, giving an abnormality rounded or “humpback” appearance.

Kyphosis is defined as a curvature of the spine measuring 50 degrees or greater On an X-ray. The normal spine can bend form 20 to 45 degrees of curvature in the upper back area. Kyphosis is a type of spinal deformity.

What causes kyphosis?

Kyphosis can be conginetal or due to acquired conditions that may include the following:

  • Metabolic  problems.
  • Neuromuscular conditions.
  • Osteogenesis imperfect (also called “brittle bone disease”.) A condition
  • That causes bones to fracture with minimal force.
  • Spina bifida.
  • Scheuermann’s disease. A condition that causes that vertebrae to curve
  • Forward in the upper back area. The cause of scheuermann’s disease is unknown and is commonly seen in males.
  • Postural kyphosis. The most common type of kyphosis. It generally becomes noticeable in adolescence and can be associated with slouching Versus a spinal abnormality. Exercise is used to help correct posture. Kyphosis is more common in female than males.

What are the symptoms of kyphosis?

The following are the most common symptoms of kyphosis. However each Individual symptons differently. Symptoms may include:

  1. Difference in shoulder height.
  2. The head bends forward to the rest of the body.
  3. Difference in shoulder blade height or position.
  4. When bending forward the height of the upper back appears higher than normal.
  5. Tight harmstrings (back thigh) muscles.

Back pain, pain down the legs, and changes in bowel and bladder habits are not Commonly associated with kyphosis. A person experiencing these types of symptoms requires further medical evaluation.

How is kyphosis diagnosed?

Diagnostic procedures may include the following:

  1. X – rays is used to measure and evaluate the curve. With the use of a full spine X-ray the angle of the spine curve can be measured. A determination for treatment can often be made based on this measurement.
  2. Radionuclide bone scan. A nuclear imaging technique that uses a very small amount of radioactive material, which is injected in to the patient’s Bloodstream to be detected by a scanner. This test shows blood flow to the bone and cell activity with in the bone.
  3. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) . A diagnostic procedure done to rule out any associated abnormalities of the spinal cord and nerves.
  4. Computed tornography scan (also called a CT or CAT scan). CT scan shows Detailed images of any part of the body,including the bones,muscles,fat and organs. CT scans are more detailed than general X-rays.
  5. Blood tests.

Early detection of kyphosis is important for successful treatment.

Treatment of kyphosis

The goal of treatment is to stop the progression of the curve and minimize deformity. According to the scoliosis research society, treatment may include:

  1. Observation and repeated examinations. The child will need observation and repeated examinations. Progression of the curve depends on the amount of skeletal growth,or how skeletally mature,thi child is. Curve progression shows down or stops after the child reaches puberty.
  2. Bracing. If the child is still growing, the doctor may prescribe a brace. The type of brace and the amount of time spent in the brace will be determined by your doctor.
  3. Surgery. In rare instances , surgery is recommended when the curve measures 75 degrees or more on X-ray and bracing is not successful in slowing down the progression of the curve.

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