Kyphosis refers to how the spine curves from front to back. The spine typically has a normal kyphotic curve, but it is possible for the curve to be abnormal. There are three main types of abnormal kyphosis, and although not every case requires treatment, some severe cases may require physical therapy or surgery.
- Postural kyphosis, as the name implies, is related to poor posture. It is commonly seen in young adults and adolescents, and results from regular slouching while standing or sitting. Since this type is not caused by structural damage, it does not usually appear on X-rays. Fortunately, postural kyphosis can be corrected by maintaining good posture and retraining the back.
- Scheuermann’s kyphosis is a structural problem with the spine. This type typically results from misshapen vertebrae in the middle of the back. Affected bones are more wedge-shaped and are narrow near the front. Scheuermann’s kyphosis is most often seen in adolescents whose vertebrae did not grow as quickly in the front.
- Congenital kyphosis is also structural in nature. This type occurs when a person is born with a spinal defect of some sort. Many extreme cases of kyphosis are congenital, and when left untreated, can lead to partial paralysis. Congenital kyphosis is often treated through surgery in severe cases, and early intervention may prevent the problem’s progression.