There are a number of different types of spinal deformities but one that is sometimes seen is known as kyphosis. This is a difficulty that occurs with the curvature of the spine and, although some curvature is normal, this problem could cause an abnormal twist or bend that could either cause cosmetic difficulties or perhaps even some serious health risks. This problem occurs in the upper part of the spine, either near the shoulder blades or in the middle of the spine. It is most commonly seen in the thoracic area.
The causes of kyphosis may differ from one individual to another, and it may sometimes be an abnormality in the spine that occurs somewhat naturally. It may also take place because of a problem with bad posture, which is a difficulty that is most often seen during the teenage years, when the spine is still developing. If kyphosis occurs during adolescence, it is referred to as Scheuermann's disease.
Another reason why this problem could occur is because of a compression fracture or perhaps multiple compression fractures. Due to the fractures, the vertebrae wedge and the amount of area that is in between the vertebrae can be reduced. A difficulty with compression fractures can occur because of osteoporosis, arthritis, degenerative disc disease and a number of other problems.
What Are the Symptoms of Kyphosis?
Most of the individuals who suffer from this condition are going to have similar symptoms to somebody that has scoliosis. In many cases, the major symptoms of this condition are going to be cosmetic and you may notice that there is unevenness in various parts of the body, such as the hips, shoulders, waist or shoulder blades. Individuals with this condition may also lean to one side frequently.
The diagnosis of this condition will require a visit to your physician but you can also look for the problem by having the person touch their toes in a standing position. Check the shoulder blades to see if either of them is more pronounced than the other or if there is an uneven shift in the ribs or waist. A person may also appear to be hunchbacked because of this condition.
During the medical exam, your doctor will look for the issue and try to pinpoint the problem that you are experiencing. The medical exam will likely include a discussion of your medical and family history as well as muscle and flexibility testing. X-rays, MRIs or CT scans may also be necessary to help look below the surface and see what is taking place with the area.
If it is determined that you have kyphosis, your doctor will want to look into the reason why you are having a problem in the first place. By treating the problem rather than the condition, it may be more likely to treat it successfully. Bracing, medication and physical therapy may also be considered to help reduce the curvature of the spine and the symptoms that are being experienced. There are also other nonsurgical options that may be considered but in some instances, surgery will be the course of action that is necessary.