Introduction of kyphosis

Kyphosis is a condition in which the top of the back is excessively curved and appears more rounded than normal. 

While some degree of curvature is normal, a curve of more than 40 degrees would be considered a sign of kyphosis.

Kyphosis doesn’t usually cause any symptoms other than your back appearing slouched or hunched. Some cases may cause:

  • back pain and stiffness
  • tiredness

Read more about the symptoms of kyphosis.

Treating kyphosis

Your course of treatment for kyphosis depends on the extent of the curve, whether there are additional symptoms such as back pain, as well as the underlying causes.

Mild cases in children often don’t require any treatment as many children grow out of kyphosis as their body matures. Alternatively, it may be possible to correct the spine using non-surgical treatments such as bracing.

More severe cases will need surgery to correct the spine.

Types of kyphosis

Causes of kyphosis include bad posture or a structural problem with the spine.   

The two main types of kyphosis are:

  • postural kyphosis – this usually develops during the teenage years due to poor posture, such as slouching during childhood, which affects the normal development of the spine
  • Scheuermann’s kyphosis – this also develops during the teenage years. For reasons that are still unclear, the vertebrae that make up the spine don’t develop in the way they should, and the back takes on a curved appearance

A less common type of kyphosis is congenital kyphosis, which is when the spine doesn’t develop normally in the womb.

Kyphosis can also develop later on in life as the result of an underlying condition, such as osteoporosis (weakening of the bones).


The outlook for many cases of kyphosis is good as symptoms tend to improve as a child grows older.

More severe cases do carry a risk of causing complications, such as breathing difficulties or urinary incontinence, but these sort of complications would usually only occur if the condition was left untreated.

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