Medical Assistance in Orange County
In all humans, a slight curvature of the spine is normal, as it helps to maintain balance and stability. Individuals suffering from kyphosis have an excessive forward curvature of the vertebrae in the upper back. A healthy spine has a curvature within the range of 20-45 degrees.
A spine afflicted by kyphosis has a curvature of more than 45 degrees, thus making the backs of people suffering from kyphosis appear to be overly rounded. In extreme cases, individuals with kyphosis can even appear to be hunched over, which is why kyphosis is sometimes referred to as “round back” or “hunchback.”
Kyphosis is usually caused by degenerative disc disease, spinal trauma or developmental problems with the spine. Kyphosis can affect individuals of any age group and people with kyphosis usually suffer from several symptoms. These symptoms can include:
- Mild back pain
- Stiffness and tenderness of the spine
- Difficulty breathing
- A slouched posture
- A markedly hunched back
- A noticeable difference in the height of each shoulder
Work with a Trusted Medical Professional from Chapman Medical Center
It is important for those who believe they are suffering from any degree of kyphosis to consult with a qualified physician. The diagnostic process for kyphosis consists of a physical examination to confirm the existence of an abnormal curvature, as well as a search for any signs of weakness, paralysis or changes in sensation below the curvature. Specialists at the Chapman Neurosurgical Spine Institute are skilled and experienced in providing the best types of kyphosis treatment to meet each patient’s specific needs.
There are several forms of effective treatment for kyphosis. For patients who do not wish or do not need to undergo kyphosis surgery, there are other options available. Pain relievers and calcium supplements have been shown to be helpful in the treatment of kyphosis, especially in the case of older people who may also be suffering from osteoporosis. For cases of kyphosis that develop due to a spinal infection, the best kyphosis treatment can consist of antibiotics and large amounts of rest in bed, sometimes for up to six weeks.
For those who need it, kyphosis surgery may be the most appropriate kyphosis treatment. There are two types of kyphosis surgery – kyphoplasty and spinal fusion surgery. Kyphoplasty is a minimally invasive procedure that targets and treats the compression fractures that are often the cause of kyphosis. Spinal fusion surgery involves the fusion of two or more vertebrae. The result of this spinal fusion is a solid piece of bone that does not move or bend. Both types of kyphosis surgery have proven to be effective measures in treating kyphosis. If you or a loved one suffer from kyphosis, an expert Chapman Neurosurgical Spine Institute surgeon can help you determine which treatment, surgical or otherwise, is right for you.