(480) 993-1300   -   FAX: (480) 212-1027 

Kyphosis

Kyphosis is a deformity of the spine where the curve of the upper back is excessively pronounced, creating a hump or “hunchback.” The term kyphosis also describes the natural outward curvature of the spine in the upper back region. An excessive curve in this area is technically called hyperkyphosis, but in both medical and lay speech is routinely referred to simply as kyphosis.

Kyphosis is very common during adolescence. The vast majority of cases of kyphosis do not require surgical treatment. Mild kyphosis often resolves with simple measures to improve posture

Types of Kyphosis

There are three different types of kyphosis.

Postural kyphosis is the most common and is not associated with structural deformities in the spinal column. It usually becomes apparent during adolescence in the form of poor posture or “slouching.” With postural kyphosis, the rounding of the back generally resolves when the child is asked to “stand up straight.” It is more common in girls than boys, and does not typically cause pain or problems into adulthood.

Scheuermann’s kyphosis is defined by a sharper, more angular curve in the upper back. X-rays will show that the vertebrae, rather than being rectangular in shape, are more triangular, causing them to wedge together, creating the deformity.

Scheuermann’s kyphosis may cause pain in the highest part of the upper back or in the lower back, as the body tries to compensate for the excessive curvature. With Scheurmann’s kyphosis, the hump does not resolve when the patient changes posture. It is most common in boys.

Congenital kyphosis is present from birth due to improper development of the spine. It often worsens over time as the child grows.

Treatment for Kyphosis

In cases of postural kyphosis, Dr. Baig may choose to simply monitor your child over time as they work on practicing good posture. Periodic x-rays may be taken to ensure the condition isn’t worsening.

In moderate cases, Dr. Baig may recommend physical therapy to strengthen muscles that support the spine and to relieve tension in areas affected by misalignment. If your child is experiencing pain, appropriate pain medications can be prescribed. Children who are still growing may benefit from a back brace to encourage proper development.

In severe cases, spinal fusion surgery may be necessary to correct the deformity caused by kyphosis. Dr. Baig is skilled and experienced in many types of spinal fusion surgery, including minimally invasive techniques. Dr. Baig will only perform spinal fusion surgery for kyphosis if he is certain your child will benefit from it.