Kyphosis is a condition where the convex curvature of the back is abnormally increased causing a hunched back and may lead to formation of a dowager’s hump, in severe cases. Patients begin to develop symptoms such as nerve compression with the progression of the disease. Prominent kyphosis can lead to intestinal obstruction resulting in pain the lower abdomen area. Kyphosis causes abdominal conditions such as gastrointestinal reflux disease (a digestive disorder), compression of abdominal contents, pain or hiatal hernia (a condition in which a part of the stomach is pushed into the diaphragm).
A normal spine has three curves which enables it to absorb the load on the spine due to the weight of the body. These are the inward curvature at the cervical spine or the neck region of the spine and the lower back, and the outward curvature at the thoracic spine, or the upper back region. These normal curves of the spine allow the head to be balanced directly over the pelvis.
Kyphosis is a spinal disorder referring to an abnormal outward rounding of the back, creating an appearance of a hunchback. It usually develops in the thoracic spine, or the upper back. It can also develop in the neck region, in which case it is known as cervical kyphosis, and in the lumbar spinal region (lower back).
There are many causes of kyphosis. Some of them are:
The treatment for kyphosis depends on the underlying causes, severity and any additional symptoms. Nonoperative treatments like medications, physical therapy and braces are considered before resorting to surgery.
Surgery for kyphosis is carried out if the pain is severe and not relieved by nonoperative treatments, if the condition is progressing, has resulted in a physical deformity or if patient is suffering from congenital kyphosis.