Kyphosis is an excessive forward curvature of the spine. It presents an abnormally rounded or hunch back appearance. Kyphosis is defined as a curvature of the spine, measuring 50 degrees or greater on an X-ray. Most of the time, kyphosis doesn’t cause health problems or need medical treatment.
Kyphosis appears more often in teenagers, whose bones are growing rapidly. But it can develop at any time. It may also develop in older adults. As people age, the vertebrae lose flexibility, and the spine may begin to tilt forward.
The cause of kyphosis can vary depending on the type. Postural is flexible and often improves with exercises. Scheuermann’s is a type of kyphosis where the vertebrae have developed a wedge shape, rigid, and worsens with growth. Congenital develops in the spine before birth.
It can also evolve as people get older or as a result of a spinal injury.
The main symptom of kyphosis is having rounded shoulders or a hump in the upper back. Tight hamstrings (back thigh muscles) can also be a symptom.
Additional symptoms may include:
- Differences in shoulder height
- The head bends forward compared to the rest of the body
- Moderate pain or stiffness in the back and shoulder blades