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What kind of a disorder is kyphosis?

Kyphosis is such a spine disorder where the upper part of the back is actually bent forward more than it is considered normal, more than 50 degrees, to be more precise. This disorder is also known under the name of hunchback, and it can affect everyone, regardless of the age or sex. Very frequently it is a result of some severe trauma or injury to the spine, but it can also be caused by arthritis osteoporosis and other degenerative diseases. It is also possible to develop kyphosis as a consequence of some problem with the development. Depending on the seriousness of each case, the symptoms vary, which means that milder cases either cause stiffness and pain in the back, or no symptoms at all, whereas more severe cases are characterized by more serious problems, because lungs, nerves, and various other organs may be affected as well. Although it is very rare, it is possible to experience loss of bowel or bladder control due to this problem. It is important to bear in mind that the posture is also affected by kyphosis, which is a reason why besides going on regular physical examinations yourself, special attention should be paid in cases of children, too.

Types of kyphosis and the treatment

The treatment of this problem depends on a number of elements, among which are the age of the patient, the symptoms and their severity, the cause, and the type of kyphosis. The types that most often occur in adolescence are:

  • Postural kyphosis – a type that is more typical of girls and that is caused by improper posture and weakened muscles and ligaments in the back. Generally, it develops very slowly, and it does not cause severe curve of the spine that might later affect the functioning of other organs.
  • Scheuermann’s kyphosis – a type that requires X-rays in order to be diagnosed, and that is usually a result of some structural deformity of the vertebrae.

It is also possible to have congenital kyphosis, which means that the spinal column has not developed properly in the uterus. These cases are extremely rare, but they are very serious, because such spine deformities tend to worsen as the child grows. In the most severe cases, this condition may lead to paralysis. As for the treatment; some cases may improve with the help of exercises and physical therapy, although it is not excluded that postural kyphosis improves on its own. Unfortunately, some cases require wearing bracing, or even surgery, which is regarded as the last resort. 

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