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Hyperkyphosis

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Kyphosis is a normal rounding curve that is seen 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.

Hyperkyphosis

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Three main types of hyperkyphosis and their causes include:

  • Postural — the most common abnormal type caused by bad posture
  • Congenital — present at birth, frequently with abnormalities of the vertebral bodies
  • Scheuermann’s — genetic, but appears during the teenage years

Other causes of hyperkyphosis are unknown.

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Factors that may increase your chances of hyperkyphosis include:

  • Bad posture
  • Arthritis
  • Vertebral fractures
  • Trauma to the spine
  • Osteoporosis
  • Spine infection
  • Certain diseases, such as Marfan syndrome or cerebral palsy

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Hyperkyphosis may cause:

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

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Most cases of hyperkyphosis can be diagnosed during a physical exam. Some cases are found by a school nurse 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:

  • X-ray
  • MRI scan
  • CT scan

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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Your therapist will educate you on pain-relieving techniques, such as ice and decreasing or modifying painful activities. This diagnosis often occurs from muscular tightness or weakness which causes posture to get out of alignment. Years of activity with poor posture can lead to damage to the structures of the spine. Your therapist will educate and assist you on proper stretching and strengthening exercises for the back.  They may need to perform hands on, manual therapy techniques to further increase your joint flexibility. The final phase of rehab will involve strengthening during functional activities and education to prevent the injury from occurring again.

This content was created using EBSCO’s Health Library

There are no current guidelines to prevent hyperkyphosis.

This content was created using EBSCO’s Health Library

This content was created using EBSCO’s Health Library
RESOURCES:
  • American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons

http://orthoinfo.org

  • North American Spine Society

http://www.spine.org

CANADIAN RESOURCES:
  • Canadian Orthopaedic Association

http://www.coa-aco.org

  • Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation

http://www.canorth.org

REFERENCES:
  • Acute low back pain. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:  http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed) Updated November 22, 2013. Accessed February 7, 2014.
  • Kyphosis. Children’s Hospital Boston website. Available at:  http://www.childrenshospital.org/health-topics/conditions/kyphosis Accessed February 7, 2014.
  • Kyphosis. Seattle Children’s Hospital website. Available at:  http://www.seattlechildrens.org/medical-conditions/bone-joint-muscle-conditions/spinal-conditions-treatment/scoliosis/kyphosis Accessed February 7, 2014.
  • Kyphosis (roundback) of the spine. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Ortho Info website. Available at:  http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00423 Updated September 2007. Accessed February 7, 2014.
  • Lowe TG, Line BG. Evidence based medicine: analysis of Scheuermann kyphosis. Spine. 2007;32(19 Suppl):S115-119.
  • Scheuermann’s kyphosis correction. Virginia Spine Institute website. Available at:  http://www.spinemd.com/operative-treatments/scheuermanns-kyphosis-correction-reston-va.php Accessed February 7, 2014.
  • Wenger DR, Frick SL. Scheuermann kyphosis. Spine. 1999;24(24):2630-2639.

This content was created using EBSCO’s Health Library