What is kyphosis in adults? — Kyphosis is the term doctors use to describe a curving of the upper back. A normal backbone (spine) has a slight curve. In a person with kyphosis, the upper part of the spine curves more than normal, causing a rounded or hunched back .
Kyphosis is also called “hyperkyphosis” or “dowager’s hump.”
What causes kyphosis in adults? — Kyphosis in adults happens because of problems with different parts of the spine . These include:
●Vertebrae – These are the bones of the spine that sit on top of one another like a stack of coins.
●Discs – These are the rubbery cushions between each of the vertebrae.
●Muscle, tendons, and ligaments – Together, these are known as the “soft tissues” of the back. These tissues support the back and help hold it together.
The problems that can cause kyphosis include:
●Osteoporosis – This disease causes weak bones that break too easily. Tiny cracks or breaks in the vertebrae (called “vertebral fractures”) can cause the vertebrae to collapse or shrink.
●Degenerative disc disease – This happens when the spinal discs start to shrink and break down.
●Weak muscles in the lower back – Weak back muscles can make it hard to stand up straight. This can cause slouching.
What are the symptoms of kyphosis? — The main symptom is a hunched or rounded back that might hurt or feel stiff. People with kyphosis might also notice that their belly has gotten bigger even though they have not gained weight. Other possible symptoms include:
●Neck or hip pain
●Having acid that is normally in your stomach back up into your throat (a condition called “acid reflux”)
●Having a hard time doing everyday things, like walking, getting up from a chair, dressing, and bathing
Is there a test for kyphosis? — Your doctor or nurse should be able to tell if you have it by doing an exam. But you will likely get a back X-ray and other tests to measure the curve of your back.
How is kyphosis treated? — The treatment depends on what caused the problem and how serious it is. Treatments can include:
●Medicines for osteoporosis
●Exercises to stretch and strengthen the back
●Medicines to ease pain
●Surgery – Doctors do surgery only if a person has trouble breathing or has very bad pain that does not get better with medicines or other treatments.