What is Kyphosis?
The spine has a normal curvature that allows the weight to be supported in an upright posture. However, an exaggeration or an abnormality of this curvature is known as Kyphosis. As a matter of fact, it is the most serious type is Scheuermann’s disease. Most common in the upper back (the thoracic spine), it is generally thought to be caused by abnormal growth of the vertebra. Part of this abnormal growth stops growing before the back part does. This abnormality causes wedge-shaped vertebral bones, which cause a forward-bending posture. However, kyphosis may also be caused by vertebral compression fractures (due to osteoporosis) or degenerative bone conditions, such as arthritis.
In Scheuermann’s disease, boys are affected more often than girls. The first signs of this disease usually appear in adolescence. The upper back gradually appears more rounded.
However, there may be accompanying back pain that worsens during the day and decreases with rest. Although if pain is present, its typically felt at the most curved point of the spine. Particularly, aggravated by activity or prolonged periods of sitting and/or standing.
Diagnosis is usually made following a physical examination and X-rays of the spine to measure the “kyphotic angle.” When this kyphotic angle, is greater than 45 degrees it is considered kyphosis.
Causes of Kyphosis
Kyphosis most commonly affects the thoracic spine. However, it can involve the cervical and lumbar portions too. There as many common causes, such as:
- Birth defects
- Disk generation
- Scheuermann’s disease
- Cancer and cancer treatments
- Abnormally curved spine
- Back pain
- Weakness in the legs
- Difficulty breathing