What is Kyphosis: Types, Symptoms, and Treatment

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What is Kyphosis: Types, Symptoms, and Treatment

There are many types of spinal malformations, among these, scoliosis and kyphosis are the most common pathologies that affect the curvature of the spine. In this article, we will tell you everything about spinal kyphosis.

What is kyphosis and what types are there?

Kyphosis is a deformity that produces a very pronounced curvature of the back, producing a kind of hump.

It is a pathology that is very frequently related to the weakness of the vertebral bones, which is why it is seen more often in older people. However, there are other types and causes that can occur in children, although they are the rarest cases.

Types of kyphosis

Among the existing types of kyphosis, we can describe the following.

Postural kyphosis: this type occurs when the affected person has poor postural hygiene that leads to deformed bones and muscles. It can be seen very often in adolescents and young adults who spend a lot of time in front of the computer and do little physical activity. The good thing about this type of kyphosis is that it can be remedied simply by changing habits and forcing good postural practices until the body is accustomed to a healthy posture.

Congenital kyphosis: in some cases kyphosis presents as a malformation that is present from birth, however it begins to manifest itself especially in early adolescence.

Juvenile kyphosis or Scheurmann's disease: it is a disease that affects the vertebrae of the dorsal region of the back (we could link to h3 of the thoracic region in the article on parts of the spine). It occurs in childhood and causes a stooping produced by structural damage to the bones.

Kyphosis caused by age: as we mentioned before, kyphosis is closely linked to the passing of time. Therefore, older people can present this pathology as a result of the weakening of their bones.

Kyphosis Symptoms and Diagnosis

The symptoms that appear, and that help diagnose this disease are almost imperceptible until the curvature of the spine begins to be visualized, since it does not generate any particular pain.

Therefore, in order to detect it, it is important to have a doctor who knows the clinical history and evolution of the patient. A good spine orthopedist will be able to detect small signs that something is wrong on physical examination and confirm it through diagnostic imaging studies (X-rays and MRIs)

Causes and consequences of kyphosis

Kyphosis occurs when the bones of the spine are deformed and consequently lose their natural curvature, this wear and degeneration of the vertebrae can occur for multiple reasons, among them, we can highlight

Malignant tumors and cancer treatments: Cancer treatments and cancer cells can weaken the spinal bones, making them more prone to disorders such as kyphosis.

Congenital malformations: the reasons why some people can present this pathology from the moment of birth are still unknown.

Injuries and trauma: especially compression fractures can lead to accentuating the abnormal curvature of the spine. Therefore, treatment and rehabilitation are very important in all spinal problems.

Vertebral disc problems: this can occur both due to disc wear and possible hernias that worsen or stimulate kyphosis.

Osteoporosis: the cause of age is a disease that involves a loss of skeletal mass, which can lead to fractures and malformations in the bones of the spine.

Risk factors

There are also some factors that can influence the more or less early development of this disease. Among them, we can emphasize:

  • Bad postural habits
  • Scoliosis
  • sedentary lifestyle
  • tobacco and alcohol consumption

  • Consequences and complications of an aggravated kyphosis

    Beyond the rigidity that can be felt with a mild case of kyphosis, there are certain complications that can appear in a more aggravated situation, such as:

    Aesthetic problems: a very accentuated curvature will produce a kind of hump in the affected person that can become very noticeable in situations of advanced kyphosis.

    Breathing problems: The incorrect curvature of the back can put pressure on the lungs and cause some difficulty when breathing.

    Digestive problems: just like the pulmonary system, the curvature of the spine can put pressure on the organs of the digestive system, producing heartburn or difficulty swallowing.

    Physical limitations: kyphosis leads to a progressive weakening of the muscles and some difficulty in performing normal day-to-day activities such as standing and walking.

    Treatments To Cure Kyphosis Of The Spine

    Generally, this pathology is solved with more conservative treatments such as physical therapy exercises and the use of an orthopedic corset.

    However, if there is a lot of pain, or the doctor assesses that the case is progressing very quickly, he or she may recommend spinal surgery in which a spinal fusion will be performed to straighten the curvature and prevent it from worsening by compacting two or more vertebrae.

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