Hyperkyphosis

(Roundback of the Spine; Congenital Kyphosis; Postural Kyphosis; Scheuermann’s Kyphosis; Hunchback)

Definition

Kyphosis is a normal rounding curve that is seen in the in the upper back. Hyperkyphosis, or hunchback, occurs when the angle of the outward curve is exaggerated. The sooner hyperkyphosis is treated, the better the outcome.
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Causes

Three main types of hyperkyphosis and their causes include:
  • Postural—the most common abnormal type, caused by bad posture
  • Congenital—a type that is present at birth, frequently with abnormalities of the vertebral bodies
  • Scheuermann’s—a type that is genetic, but appears during the teenage years
Other causes of hyperkyphosis are unknown.

Risk Factors

Factors that may increase your chance of hyperkyphosis include:

Symptoms

Hyperkyphosis may cause:
  • Back pain or stiffness
  • Intense fatigue
  • Exaggerated rounding of the shoulders
  • Forward-bending head in comparison to the rest of your body
  • Differences in shoulder height

Diagnosis

Most cases can be diagnosed during a physical exam. Some cases are found at school during a scoliosis check. Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done to look for abnormal curve in the spine, rounded shoulders, and a hump on the back. Some tests may be done to rule out or confirm other conditions that may be causing hyperkyphosis.Your doctor may recommend imaging tests to see the spinal curve and the structures around it. These may include:Your doctor may need to measure how well you breathe if the curve is severe enough. This can be done with pulmonary function tests.

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