Kyphosis

Synonyms: Round back

Medical Specialties: Family practice, Orthopedics, Pediatrics


Clinical Definition

Kyphosis is a spinal curvature that is excessive, resulting in a back that is rounded abnormally. Some degree of spine curvature is normal, but kyphosis describes a backward bend in the upper back that is excessive. In some patients, the abnormal curves do not progress. However, when they do,   appearance issues and impact on other anatomical structures result.


In Our Own Words

Kyphosis is a condition in which the spine (normally curving gently backward in the upper back) curves too much and thus causes an abnormally rounded back. The most common type is postural kyphosis, which can be due to slouching and is usually detected during teen years.

 

Another type, Scheuermann's kyphosis, is more exaggerated, affecting the upper spine and the lower back area and sometimes causing pain. Congenital kyphosis occurs when the spinal column does not develop properly in the womb, resulting in progressive kyphosis as the child grows.

 

Exercise programs and back braces are sometimes recommended, and so are anti-inflammatory medicines for any pain. Surgery may be recommended in some cases if the curve exceeds 75 degrees.

Common Types
  • Postural
  • Scheuermann's
  • Congenital
Side Effects
  • Pain or discomfort with activity
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sources
  • Kuivila, Thomas, MD. "What You Need to Know About Scoliosis." http://www.clevelandclinic.org. Accessed August 2013.
  • Cleveland Clinic. "Spinal Deformity & Scoliosis." http://my.clevelandclinic.or. Accessed August 2013.
  • American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. "Kyphosis (Roundback) of the Spine.” http://orthoinfo.aaos.org. Accessed August 2013.

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