Kyphosis is used to describe the spinal curve that results in an abnormally rounded back, normally present in the thoracic spine (the part of the spine in the chest area). A kyphotic curve looks like the letter “C” with the opening of the C pointing towards the front. Though the thoracic spine is supposed to be curved, if the curve in a person’s thoracic spine is more than 40 to 45 degrees, it is considered a spinal deformity.
- Congenital, which means it is a condition present from birth affecting the development of the spine
- Trauma or injury to the spine
- “Iatrogenic factors” from the effects of medical treatment or surgery
- Osteoporosis can cause kyphosis in adults, leads to major losses of bone mass, leaving the bones brittle and prone to fractures and more common in women than men, due to losses of estrogen in menopausal and postmenopausal women.
Non-Surgical/Conservative Treatment and Therapies
An initial program of conservative treatment that includes exercises and anti-inflammatory medications for discomfort is recommended for patients with suffering from kyphosis. If the patient is still growing, the doctor may prescribe a brace. The patient typically wears the brace until skeletal maturity is reached.
- Pain medications
- Physical therapy
- Exercise, and certain types of braces to support the spine
- Increasing your calcium and vitamin D intake
- Hormone replacement therapy
- Weight-bearing exercises
Surgery for kyphosis carries with it some risks. For this reason, surgery is only recommended when the risks are far outweighed by the expected benefits. Surgery will not be recommended for most cases of kyphosis. Surgery may be recommended in the following situations:
- To relieve severe pain
- If the curvature continues to worsen, surgery may be suggested
- Reduce the deformity and straighten the spine
- Stop or halt the progression of the deformity
- Remove any pressure from the nerves and spinal cord
- Protect the nerves and spinal cord from further damage
Burak Ozgur, MD treats kyphosis with conservative treatments and minimally invasive surgical procedures that are designed to help you find relief from pain. Learn more about our minimally invasive procedures or request an appointment for consultation by calling (949) 383-4190 or toll free 888-64-SPINE or Contact Us ➲.