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Kyphosis is a condition that results in an abnormal rounding of the upper back, often called a "hunchback." It can affect people of all ages, from infants to the elderly. Some common causes of kyphosis include poor posture, degenerative disc disease, osteoporosis, Scheuermann, and congenital disorders.

Causes of Kyphosis

Kyphosis can be caused by a variety of factors, including:

Image by Melissa Labellarte

Congenital Kyphosis

This type of kyphosis is present at birth and is caused by abnormal spinal development in the womb.

Postural Kyphosis

Postural Kyphosis

Poor posture habits, such as slouching or sitting in front of computer for extended periods. This can cause a rounding of the upper back, leading to kyphosis.

Scheuermann's Kyphosis

Scheuermann's Kyphosis

is a condition that affects the curvature of the spine. It is characterized by an excessive rounding of the upper back (thoracic spine) which can cause discomfort and pain. The condition typically develops during adolescence and can progress into adulthood. 



Weak bones caused by osteoporosis can lead to a compression fracture of the vertebrae, resulting in kyphosis.

Degenerative Disc Disease

Degenerative Disc Disease

Age-related changes in the spine are the most prevalent cause of degenerative kyphosis. The spinal discs lose water content and become less flexible as we mature. The vertebrae may compress and shift closer together; as a result, resulting in a forward curvature of the spine.

Symptoms of Kyphosis

The symptoms of kyphosis can vary depending on the severity of the curvature. Mild cases may not produce any noticeable symptoms, while severe cases can cause:

  • Back pain

  • Fatigue

  • Difficulty breathing

  • Numbness or tingling in the legs

  • Digestive issues

Back Pain

Treatment of Kyphosis

The treatment of kyphosis will depend on the severity of the condition and its underlying cause. Exercises to improve posture and strengthen the spinal muscles may be recommended in mild cases.
In more severe cases, a kyphologic brace may help straighten the spine. However, surgery may also be necessary in cases where the curvature is causing significant pain or impairment of bodily functions.


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