Kyphosis Spinal Injuries

Kyphosis or “dowager’s hump” is the term used to describe the exaggerated forward rounding of the bones between the middle and upper spine, which can cause a hunchback appearance. While the spine naturally curves, that curvature is designed to support the upper body and act as a shock absorber.

Kyphosis is a spinal injury that generally develops over time with varying degrees of severity. Although it can occur in anyone, kyphosis is more common in women than in men. There are several treatment options available which can work to eliminate or reduce pain and restore or improve flexibility and mobility. If you are, or think you may be suffering, talk to a doctor about how to best treat your symptoms of kyphosis.

Common Causes of Kyphosis

Osteoporosis, arthritis, and other bone degenerating conditions are common causes of Kyphosis. The human body consistently absorbs and replaces bone tissue. Osteoporosis occurs when the body does not generate new bone tissue as quickly as the old bone tissue is absorbed. When the spine is weakened because of osteoporosis, it can cause the bones in front to be crushed, which would cause forward stooping and an exaggerated and visible curve in the back.

Carrying heavy bags on the back, slouching and other forms of poor posture during childhood could also lead to Kyphosis.  These actions can pull the bones that make up the middle and upper section of the spine out of position until it bows into a curve. Birth defects, spine infections, tumors, cancer, some cancer treatment, tuberculosis, and slipped or herniated discs may also lead to Kyphosis, but they are less common causes of the disease.


The most visible symptom of Kyphosis is the appearance of a hump in the back, which is caused by significant curvature in the spine. Back pain, back stiffness, tightness in hamstrings, and muscle fatigue are the most common symptoms of Kyphosis. There may also be a noticeable difference between the height of each shoulder in individuals with Kyphosis.

When the condition is mild, there may not be any noticeable signs that Kyphosis exists. When the condition is more serious, it can cause decreased appetites, difficulty breathing, and chest pain.

Treatment Options

The treatment options for Kyphosis vary based on the age of the patient, the existence of an underlying condition, and the seriousness of the condition. Treatment can range from taking antibiotics to spinal fusion surgery. In some cases, the treatment for Kyphosis is focused on the underlying condition in an effort to prevent Kyphosis from worsening.

Relieving symptoms can necessitate wearing leg braces, beginning a weight loss regime to lessen the burden on the spine, and taking pain medication. Yoga and similar classes can relieve the symptoms of Kyphosis by strengthening muscles and increasing flexibility. Physical therapy can also build strength in back muscles, which may relieve the symptoms. Before beginning any program in an effort to treat or relieve the symptoms of Kyphosis, it is necessary to seek advice from a medical professional to avoid exacerbating the pain or aggravating another medical condition.

Although Kyphosis does not have a cure, there are numerous treatment options that would allow a person to maintain their quality of life while living with the condition. Further, there are multiple options to reduce the likelihood of developing Kyphosis. Eating well to maintain good bone density, exercising regularly, ingesting the recommended amount of calcium, avoiding cigarettes, and limiting alcohol and caffeine can aid in the prevention of Kyphosis. For more information about causes, symptoms, and treatment options for Kyphosis, contact a local medical professional.