Definition of Kyphosis of Spine

Kyphosis is a deformity of the upper spine that gives the appearance of a hump in the upper back.

Kyphosis may represent a congenital anomaly in the structure of the spine or may develop later in life as a consequence of damage to the cartilage disks between the vertebrae that allow the vertebrae to slide out of position. Mild kyphosis generally does not cause symptoms and may be noticeable only with X-rays of the spine. Moderate kyphosis can cause upper back pain, resulting from distorted posture that strains the back muscles.

Treatment may include physical therapy or chiropractic care to stretch the back, strengthen muscles, and improve posture. Sometimes sleeping on a very firm mattress with a low pillow allows the spine to correct itself. The doctor may prescribe a back brace for moderate kyphosis. Severe kyphosis may require surgery to realign and support the vertebrae.


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