What is Kyphosis?

August 9, 2023

What is Kyphosis?
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Kyphosis – Causes, Characteristics, Symptoms and Treatments

Kyphosis is when your upper back curves too much, making it look rounded or hunched. It can happen due to poor posture, aging or health issues. Kyphosis may cause discomfort, limit movement or affect appearance. Treatment depends on how serious it is, ranging from exercises to surgery. Good posture and medical guidance are vital for managing and preventing kyphosis.

Table of Contents

  • What is Kyphosis?
  • Types of Kyphosis
  • Symptoms of Kyphosis
  • Complication
  • Conclusion
  • Frequently Asked Questions

Types of Kyphosis

Kyphosis is a spinal condition characterised by an abnormal upper back curvature resulting in a rounded or hunched posture. There are several types of kyphosis each with its causes, characteristics and treatment approaches:

1) Postural Kyphosis

Causes – This is the most prevalent type of kyphosis and is frequently associated with bad posture, particularly in teens. Slouching or carrying hefty bags might also cause it.

Characteristics – Postural kyphosis is characterised by a slow, non progressive rounding of the upper back. It is frequently painless and does not require structural alterations to the spine.

Treatment – focuses on correcting posture through physical therapy, exercises and ergonomic changes. Bracing is rarely required.

2) Scheuermann’s Kyphosis

Causes – Scheuermann’s kyphosis usually develops during growth spurts in adolescence. It results from the wedging of vertebrae, leading to an exaggerated forward curve of the spine.

Characteristics – This type is characterised by a more pronounced curvature of the upper back, often accompanied by back pain or discomfort. X-rays reveal distinct structural changes in the vertebrae.

Treatment – Treatment options include physical therapy, exercises to strengthen the back muscles and bracing for adolescents with significant curvature. Severe cases may require surgery to correct the deformity.

3) Congenital Kyphosis

Causes – Congenital kyphosis is present at birth and results from abnormal spinal development during fetal development.

Characteristics – The severity and symptoms can vary widely. It may involve structural abnormalities in the spine, leading to a noticeable hunch in some cases.

Treatment – Treatment depends on the severity and may involve observation, bracing or surgery to correct the spinal deformity.

4) Degenerative Kyphosis

Causes – Degenerative kyphosis is most commonly seen in older persons as a result of age related changes in the spine, including as disc degeneration and vertebral compression fractures.

Characteristics – It is distinguished by a forward curve of the upper back, which is frequently accompanied by back pain, stiffness, and loss of mobility.

Treatment – Focuses on reducing pain, maintaining spinal function, and preventing future deformity. Physical therapy, pain medicines, and, in certain circumstances, surgery to stabilise the spine are among the treatment options.

5) Nutritional Kyphosis

Causes – Nutritional kyphosis is an uncommon kind of kyphosis seen in malnourished children during high development periods.

Characteristics – A shortage of vital nutrients required for healthy bone formation, it can cause severe spinal deformities and growth limitations.

Treatment – Includes addressing the underlying nutritional inadequacies with a well balanced diet and nutritional supplements. Medical treatment is required to ensure proper growth and development.

6) Post Traumatic Kyphosis

Causes – Post traumatic kyphosis develops after spinal injuries or fractures, which can occur at any age.

Characteristics – The intensity and location of the damage determine the extent of the deformity. It frequently causes a visible alteration in spinal curvature.

Treatment – In severe situations, surgery may be required to stabilise the spine. Rehabilitation and physical therapy are critical components of healing.

7) Neuromuscular Kyphosis

Causes – Neuromuscular kyphosis is linked to underlying neuromuscular disorders like cerebral palsy or muscular dystrophy, which weaken spinal supporting muscles.

Characteristics – It arises from muscle weakness and tends to worsen, leading to severe spinal deformity.

Treatment – Managing the neuromuscular issue is the focus. Options include physical therapy, bracing and in some cases, surgery to address spinal deformities.

Identifying the type of kyphosis is essential for tailoring the right treatment plan, as different types may stem from various causes and have distinct treatment options. Early intervention and proper management can alleviate symptoms and prevent further deterioration.

Symptoms of Kyphosis

  1. Rounded Back: The upper back appears rounded or hunched.
  2. Back Pain: Often accompanied by varying degrees of pain.
  3. Stiffness: Reduced flexibility in the back.
  4. Fatigue: Muscles tire due to the abnormal posture.
  5. Limited Movement: Difficulty bending, twisting, or rotating the torso.
  6. Weak Muscles: Supporting muscles can weaken.
  7. Nerve Pressure: Severe cases may press on spinal nerves, causing sensations or weakness.
  8. Breathing Trouble: Reduced lung capacity leads to breathlessness.
  9. Digestive Issues: Pressure on abdominal organs may result in digestive problems.
  10. Self Esteem: Affecting body image and self-esteem.
  11. Progression: This may worsen over time, especially in adolescents.
  12. Neurological Effects: Severe cases can compress the spinal cord, causing severe symptoms.

The severity and progression of these symptoms can vary among individuals, making early diagnosis and medical evaluation crucial for proper management and treatment.


  1. Pain and Discomfort

Kyphosis causes ongoing back pain due to spine curvature that strains muscles, ligaments, and discs. As it worsens, pain intensifies. Relief involves physical therapy, pain management, and sometimes corrective surgery.

  1. Reduced Mobility

Kyphosis restricts spine motion, impacting daily activities like bending and lifting. Physical therapy is essential for improving mobility through specialized exercises and stretches.

  1. Breathing Problem

Severe kyphosis can limit lung expansion, causing breathing problems. Respiratory aids like supplemental oxygen may be necessary.

  1. Digestive Issues

Kyphosis can compress the abdomen, causing digestive problems and discomfort. Dietary changes, posture adjustments, and medications can offer relief.

  1. Cardiovascular Impact

Severe kyphosis can stress the heart and blood vessels, potentially causing chest pain and breathlessness. Cardiovascular management is crucial and medical help may be needed.

  1. Psychological Impact

Kyphosis can affect self esteem and mental health. Emotional support, like counseling or support groups is essential for those with this condition.

  1. Nerve Compression

Severe kyphosis can compress nerves, causing arm or leg symptoms. Surgery may be needed to relieve nerve pressure.

Kyphosis goes beyond spine curvature, causing physical, emotional and psychological challenges. Early diagnosis, medical care, and lifestyle changes can help manage these issues and enhance life quality.


Kyphosis is an abnormal forward curvature of the spine, causing a hunched upper back. It can result from factors like poor posture, spinal degeneration, congenital issues or neuromuscular conditions. Kyphosis can lead to back pain, restricted mobility and breathing problems. Severe cases may affect the heart, lungs and nerves. Early diagnosis and proper medical care are crucial with treatments including physical therapy, surgery, depending on the severity and cause.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Is Kyphosis Hereditary?

Kyphosis is a condition where the spine curves forward, causing a hunched upper back. It can result from various factors and lead to back pain and mobility issues. Treatment options vary based on the cause and severity of the condition, including physical therapy, bracing or surgery when necessary.

  1. How to Treat Kyphosis?

Kyphosis treatment varies by severity and cause. Mild cases can improve with physical therapy and posture exercises. Bracing helps some, especially adolescents. Severe or condition related cases may require surgery like spinal fusion or vertebral body tethering. Treatment choice depends on a healthcare pro’s evaluation, considering age, health and kyphosis specifics.

  1. How to Correct Kyphosis in Neck?

Addressing kyphosis in the neck entails managing its causes and enhancing posture. Physical therapy and specific neck exercises can strengthen muscles and improve alignment. In severe or structural cases, surgical intervention may be necessary. Consulting a healthcare provider is essential for the right treatment plan.

Disclaimer: We recommend consulting a Doctor before taking any action based on the above shared information.


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