Sometimes referred to as "hunchback", Kyphosis is a curving of the spine that causes a bowing or rounding of the back, which leads to the hunchback look or posture deformities. Kyphosis can occur at any age and may be caused by various conditions. Adolescent Kyphosis, also known as Scheuermann's disease, is caused by the wedging together of several bones of the spine in a row. The cause of Scheuermann's disease is unknown.


Adult Kyphosis can be caused by:

  • Degenerative diseases of the spine such as arthritis or disc degeneration
  • Fractures caused by osteoporosis
  • Injury or trauma
  • Spondylolisthesis (slipping of one vertebra on another)
  • Poor posture during adolescence


In mild cases, Kyphosis may produce no noticeable signs or symptoms, however more serious Kyphosis may result in the following:

  • Difficulty breathing (in severe cases of Kyphosis)
  • Fatigue
  • Mild back pain
  • Round or hump back appearance
  • Tenderness and stiffness in the spine


Diagnosis of Kyphosis will include a physical examination to assess the curve of the spine both standing upright and while bending forward as well as possibly lying down so that it can be determined whether a curve is being caused by bad posture or a structural problem. An x-ray of the spine may be taken to measure how much the spine is curved. Other tests may be necessary to determine if the Kyphosis affecting your breathing or if there is a concern as to whether or not there is a possibly spinal tumor or infection.

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