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.
Kyphosis can have varying symptoms and degrees of severity, from minor changes in the shape of your back, to severe deformity, nerve problems, and chronic pain. Kyphosis is most common in the thoracic spine, though it can also affect the cervical and lumbar spine. Causes of kyphosis in adults:
- 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.
Before Burak Ozgur, MD can diagnose your condition and design a treatment plan, a complete history and physical exam are necessary. A diagnosis is based on a medical history and a physical examination, as well as the symptoms and the circumstances where the pain started. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI scan) can show damage to discs, but it alone cannot confirm degenerative disc disease.
There are a variety of effective treatment options for kyphosis. With Burak Ozgur, MD, the first choice is always conservative and surgery will not usually be recommended.
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 ➲.