Kyphosis Treatment Options in Phoenix
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. DR. BAIG WILL DISCUSS ALL KYPHOSIS TREATMENT OPTIONS WITH YOU SO YOU CAN MAKE AN INFORMED DECISION BASED ON WHAT’S RIGHT FOR YOUR CHILD.
Types of Kyphosis
There are three different types of kyphosis. The kyphotic spine treatment options available may depend on the type of kyphosis your child has.
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,” and is caused by the spinal muscles and ligaments pulling out of their proper alignment.
With postural kyphosis, since there’s no vertebral deformity, the rounding of the back is flexible in nature and 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 characterised by changes in the shape of the spinal vertebrae, meaning it’s structural rather than posture-related in nature.
Normal vertebrae are rectangular in shape. However, in cases of Scheuermann’s Kyphosis, the vertebrae have a more triangular shape, which makes the bones “wedge” together. This wedging causes a sharper, more angular curve to develop in the upper back.
- The curve is rigid, not flexible, so it won’t resolve when the patient changes posture.
- Symptoms typically include a painful upper back, stiffness when sitting, muscle cramps, and reduced flexibility. The upper back is often more painful after prolonged periods of standing or sitting.
Scheuermann’s Kyphosis is more common in boys than girls, and it usually appears in teens. Scheuermann’s Kyphosis can be diagnosed by x-ray.
With congenital kyphosis, the child is born with a spinal defect caused by improper development of the spinal column in the womb. The vertebrae fail to grow fully or they fuse together, which can cause pain and a curve in the upper back.
- The condition may not be noticeable immediately, although some children are born with a spinal curve or postural abnormalities.
- As the child grows, the vertebrae can compress the spinal cord, which may cause motor defects and nerve damage if left untreated.
Congenital kyphosis often worsens over time.
Treatment for Kyphosis
With a kyphotic spine, treatment depends on the underlying cause.
In cases of postural kyphosis, doctors 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. Dr. Baig can provide postural kyphosis treatment in Phoenix.
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.
Spinal surgery may be necessary in more severe cases, or to correct congenital kyphosis to reduce the risk of spinal cord compression.
Dr. Baig is skilled and experienced in many types of spinal fusion surgery, including minimally invasive techniques. As kyphosis can often be treated conservatively, surgery will only be recommended if Dr. Baig is certain your child will benefit.