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Doctors refer to the excessive forward rounding of the back as Thoracic Kyphosis. It can affect people of any age, although women get this condition more than men in their forties and fifties. The most common cause of kyphosis in older people emanates from a weakening of the spinal bones, which causes them to compress or crack.

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Thoracic Kyphosis

Doctors refer to the excessive forward rounding of the back as Thoracic Kyphosis. It can affect people of any age, although it women get it more than men in their forties and fifties. In addition, the most prevalent cause of kyphosis in older people occurs from a weakening of the spinal bones, which causes them to compress or crack. Also, other types of kyphosis can occur in babies or teens as a result of spinal deformity or long-term spinal bone wedging. Mild kyphosis has minimal consequences. However, severe kyphosis can cause a person to hunch over, not stand up straight and cause pain. Finally, doctors determine kyphosis treatment by a patient’s age, as well as the source and effects of the curvature.

Doctors may need to intervene if an individual’s curvature becomes too large or causes the spine to become unstable. Kyphosis refers to the medical term denoting an extreme forward curvature. As such, the causes of Kyphosis link to postural imbalances, spinal abnormalities, or age-related diseases. Aside from alterations in the appearance of the spine, it may not produce any symptoms.

Symptoms of Kyphosis

A noticeable forward bend in the top section of the spine provides the primary symptom of  Thoracic Kyphosis. It causes the shoulders to round forward and the upper back to fold over. In moderate instances, the extra spinal curvature does not show. In some cases, a person appears to lean forward. Kyphosis typically arises without any additional signs or symptoms. Also, other signs and symptoms may include:

  • back pain
  • stiffness in the upper back
  • a rounded back
  • tight hamstrings

Doctors find vertebral fractures in roughly 40% of patients with hyperkyphosis, according to doctors. The kyphosis angle will increase about 3.8 degrees with each spinal compression fracture.

Types and Causes of Thoracic Kyphosis

The spine consists of vertebrae, which stack on top of one another allowing the spine to provide support and flexibility. However, the spine is very sensitive to injury and will react in a variety of different ways.  One such reaction could result in Kyphosis, which comes in a variety of forms. Depending on the kind of kyphosis, several things contribute to it.

Postural Kyphosis:

The most prevalent kind of kyphosis is this. It usually begins in adolescence, when the muscles that surround the spine grow abnormally as a result of a postural imbalance, such as slouching. Slouching causes the spine’s forward curvature to expand, straining the extensor muscles and posterior ligaments, and weakening them over time. Due to decreasing muscular strength, this can also happen in elderly persons.

Scheuermann’s Kyphosis:

This occurs during adolescence. It can, however, progress to a more severe state than postural kyphosis. Doctors do not know what causes this type of kyphosis.

Age-related Kyphosis:

This form of kyphosis generates a bend in the spine that worsens with age, usually due to disorders that damage the spine’s bones. Osteoporosis, for example, cause the bones to lose density and become fragile.

Congenital Kyphosis:

When the spine does not grow normally before birth, kyphosis develops during birth. It might quickly deteriorate as you get older.


Patients become extremely motivated to see their doctor when the deformity begins advancing or pain becomes worse. Doctors can halt the curve progression in Kyphosis when controlled with early therapy, especially in the teen years.

Physical Examination

A complete physical exam reveals a great deal ab<ul style=”padding-left: 40px;”>out a patient’s health and general fitness. The exam establishes a baseline against which the doctor may track the patient’s development during therapy. The physical exam that will identify kyphosis will involve the following:

  • A round-back or Gibbus deformity appears by observing the posture.
  • From the side, the sagittal balance, or the equilibrium of the head and trunk appear straight and directly over the pelvis.
  • An MRI scan will confirm any hint of scoliosis.
  • The patient must bend forward at the waist in Adam’s Forward Bending Test.
  • The deformity is palpated during the range of motion to determine the curve’s flexibility or stiffness.
  • Palpation can determine anomalies in the spine,
  • The paraspinal musculature is frequently sensitive.
  • When a patient suffers from Scheuermann’s Disease, the hamstring muscles may appear tight
  • The degree to which a patient can do flexion, extension, lateral bending, and spinal rotation gets measured by a range of motion.
  • It’s also worth noting that there’s some asymmetry.

Neurologic Evaluation

Pain, numbness, paresthesias, extremities feeling and motor function, muscular spasm, weakness, and bowel/bladder abnormalities get assessed during a neurological evaluation.

Radiographs (X-rays)

The doctor will ensure that X-rays are taken of the spinal column at full length. For instance, with arms stretched front and head upright, the patient stands. X-ray scans can occur while the patient lies supine to assess curve flexibility. These x-rays help the doctor assess spinal wedging and end plate abnormalities, both of which are common in Scheuermann’s Disease. If the spinal cord has been damaged, the doctor may require an MRI. Using a conventional full-length AP x-ray, the Cobb Angle Method calculates the kyphotic curve in degrees.


Treatment for Kyphosis is determined by the nature and severity of your problem.


Your doctor can prescribe one or more of the following medicines:

  • Pain relievers. If over-the-counter medications such as acetaminophen (such as Tylenol), ibuprofen (such as Advil, Motrin IB), and naproxen sodium (Alive) do not work, prescriptions provide more powerful painkillers.
  • Osteoporosis medicine. Bone-strengthening medications might help you avoid further spinal fractures, which would exacerbate your kyphosis.


Therapy can treat some types of kyphosis.

  • Exercises. Stretching exercises might help you increase your spinal flexibility and relieve back discomfort.
  • Bracing. While children’s bones continue to grow, children with Scheuermann’s illness may use a body brace to slow the growth of kyphosis.

Surgical and Other Procedures

Doctors may require surgery if severe Kyphosis pinches the spinal cord or nerve roots. To minimize the degree of curvature, surgeons will use spinal fusion.  The surgeon puts bone pieces between the vertebrae and holds them together with metal rods and screws until the spine heals in the proper position. Your doctor may suggest the following to help you maintain high bone density:

  • Having calcium- and vitamin-D-rich diet
  • Avoiding tobacco
  • Limit alcohol

Thoracic Kyphosis Prevention

There are certain types of Kyphosis that are avoidable.  Postural kyphosis, for example, is fully reliant on posture, thus, maintaining excellent posture can help you avoid developing this form of kyphosis. You must know how you stand or sit in order to establish proper posture. For advice on how to maintain proper posture, read the articles on the internet about Posture and Kyphosis.

There are methods to avoid Osteoporosis related kyphosis and spinal fractures. Individuals can avoid Osteoporosis by keeping their bones strong and healthy. You will help your body—and bones—by eating meals high in calcium and other essential elements. There are several other ways to avoid osteoporosis as it is one of the most preventable illnesses. In addition, there is lots of advice on how to keep your bones healthy on the internet.

On the other hand, there are no prevention techniques for Scheuermann’s kyphosis and congenital kyphosis since they are caused by structural flaws that develop regardless of what you do. The earlier you catch Scheuermann’s kyphosis, the better. Make an appointment with your doctor if you see your pre-teen or adolescent has bad posture. The doctor will determine if it’s Scheuermann’s kyphosis or postural kyphosis, which can get corrected by relearning good posture. You may avoid structural kyphosis from having a severe impact on your spine if you discover it early enough and follow your doctor’s treatment plan.


Kyphosis, on the other hand, can cause pain, create spinal deformity, and cause breathing issues in extreme cases. Doctors will recommend surgery for patients with severe kyphosis in order to stop a spinal curvature from getting worse and address the causes.

Exercises and Stretches for Thoracic Kyphosis

Exercise, combined with good posture may help to improve a rounded upper back. To observe improvements over time, exercises at least three to four times each week. Always get medical advice before starting an exercise program, and pay attention to your body’s signals. Stop if an activity or stretch generates pain.

Make an Appointment

The Southwest Scoliosis and Spine Institute doctors are well-versed in the options to treat Thoracic Kyphosis.  Our doctors, surgeons, technicians, and staff specialize in complex spinal conditions and have been continually recognized for their excellence.  We can see patients within 24 hours and so if you suffer from pain in your neck or back, we invite you to call us for an appointment.  For our patient’s convenience, our doctors see patients in our offices in DallasPlano, and Frisco, Texas.  For your information, our board-certified, fellowship-trained surgeons have diagnosed and treated more than 100,000 patients. In addition, we have successfully performed more than 16,000 surgeries for scoliosis including complicated spine cases and revision surgeries.



National Institute of Health: Kyphosis


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