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Posted 01/27/2023 by Amelia Grant

What to Know About Kyphosis Treatment

What to Know About Kyphosis Treatment

Technically, kyphosis is not a bad thing. The term refers to any outward curve of the spine, ranging from completely normal to excessive (and anything in between).

While you may not have heard the term "kyphosis," you may have heard the less-than-pleasant nickname for severe spine rounding: a dowager's hump.

It gets its name because many people with the condition have a humped or hunched back.

Appearance aside, there is a reason to be concerned about this condition. Because spine curvatures are important for balance, standing up straight will be difficult if they are too large or too small.

Here's everything you need to know about kyphosis types, symptoms, treatments, and how to live with the condition.

The treatment for kyphosis is determined by the cause of the disorder as well as your age.

Treatment for postural kyphosis

Physical therapy and a focus on good posture are usually used to treat postural kyphosis.

Treatment for kyphosis in adults and kids

In adults, kyphosis correction is frequently part of a scoliosis correction procedure.

Other treatments are dependent on the nature of the underlying bone development abnormality. For example, those who have severe or progressive kyphosis require surgery to correct the deformity as soon as possible. A spine surgeon can determine whether you need surgery. 

Because it is a serious surgery, it is reserved for severe cases of kyphosis. In addition, when kyphosis is treated surgically, there is a risk of spinal cord injury during the procedure.

Treatment for Scheuermann’s kyphosis

When the kyphosis is less than 70 degrees, it can be treated with a brace or physical therapy.

If the child is still growing, a brace can help slow the progression of kyphosis.

Curves that are more severe are more difficult to correct and cannot be improved with non-operative measures. Corrective surgery is often required if the kyphotic angle is greater than 75 degrees.

The thoracic bone is cut (a procedure known as osteotomy), and the spine is straightened out by inserting a metal rod and fusing bone cuts together with screws and rods for stability.

Treatment for congenital kyphosis

Treatment in growing children is focused on symptom relief and progression prevention.

Physical therapy is frequently used to improve core strength, hamstring flexibility, and shoulder mechanics.

In situ fusion is used to stop the growth of the kyphotic spine without correcting any existing kyphosis in patients with congenital kyphosis.

The other procedure is an osteotomy and fusion with screws and rods to correct the kyphosis.


People usually seek medical advice because they are unhappy with their physical appearance.

Your doctor will evaluate and examine your spine to determine whether the cause of your curvature is postural or structural.

You may be asked to bend forward so your doctor can see how rounded your spine is. X-rays may also be required to determine the severity of the problem and measure the angle of the curvature of the spine.

Your doctor will check for any additional signs of spinal deformity. Many people have linked scoliosis and kyphosis.

The Bottom Line 

Congenital kyphosis is more likely than other types of kyphosis to progress to severe kyphosis in adolescents and adults.

There may also be associated neurological deficits or abnormalities in other organ systems, complicating management.

The majority of adolescents with Scheurmann's kyphosis have mild to moderate curves and respond well to nonoperative treatment.

Because the progression of Scheurmann's kyphosis is dependent on bone growth, once children reach puberty, the disease usually stops.

Those with severe curves who require surgery benefit from modern surgical techniques and technology such as screws, rods, and fusion.

During back surgery, small gaps are created between the vertebrae and then closed with a screw-and-rod system to straighten the curvature. At the same time, a spine fusion is performed to close gaps between segments.

Kyphosis does not usually cause serious problems, but it can cause breathing difficulties and pain.

Consult your doctor to determine the best treatment plan for relieving your pain and improving your symptoms.

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