A hunched, rounded spine or hunchback is not only an indication of poor posture; it could be a symptom of a structural condition known as kyphosis. Most often, this spine condition manifests itself in the mid-back (thoracic) region. This condition is a deformity of the spine. With it, your vertebrae change from a cylindrical shape to a wedge shape. Your spine may begin to curve forward. Eventually, this gives your upper back a rounded appearance.
Causes & Triggers
Several different causes can result in kyphosis. It may be caused by osteoporosis. This is a loss of bone density. It makes your bones weak and brittle. It can allow your vertebrae to fracture and compress. Kyphosis is also caused by degeneration of your spinal discs. It can be caused by cancer. And it can be caused by birth defects, diseases and syndromes that affect the spine.
- Cancer-related compression fractures
- Degenerative diseases (especially arthritis, disc degeneration)
- Fragility fractures
- Structural abnormality or birth defect (bones, discs, nerves, soft tissues)
Signs & Symptoms
If your kyphosis is mild, you may not notice any symptoms. As it progresses, your spine may curve forward. You may experience stiffness. You may have aches in your neck and back. Severe kyphosis may put pressure on your spinal nerves. And it may cause your organs to become compressed. This can cause a wide range of problems.
- Hunched or rounded appearance
Tips & Treatment
Treatment options include medications and exercise. Increasing your calcium intake can help strengthen your bones. You may benefit from a brace. Some people also benefit from surgery to straighten and stabilize the spine. Your healthcare provider can create a care plan that is right for your needs.
- This progressive condition affects both children and adults
- Seek a medical evaluation from a well-qualified neck and spine specialist for treatment options, which may include bracing, exercise, lifestyle changes or spinal fusion surgery.