Kyphosis is an exaggerated forward rounding of the spine that is common in older women who have osteoporosis and those who have taken high doses of corticosteroids. The spinal bones weaken to the point that they crack and compress. Other types of kyphosis are seen in infants or teens due to birth defects such as the malformation of the spine or the wedging of the spinal bones over time.
Mild kyphosis causes few problems, but severe cases can cause pain and be disfiguring. Treatment for kyphosis depends on your age, the cause of the curvature and its effects.
Causes may be disc degeneration, Scheuermann’s disease that begins during a growth spurt before puberty with the wedging together of several vertebrae. Kyphosis is often the result of arthritis, osteoporosis-related fractures or injury, muscular dystrophy, Paget’s disease, spina bifida, polio, Marfan syndrome and Prader-Willi disease. Some cancer treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation treatment can weaken vertebrae and make them more prone to compression fractures.
There is a surgical procedure to correct kyphosis called kyphoplasty.