Kyphosis is the medical term for a condition in which the curvature of the spine causes a forward rounding of the back. Although everyone’s spine is curved to some degree, the NHS says “a curve of more than 45 degrees is considered excessive.”
And while kyphosis can affect people of all ages, it most commonly occurs in older adults—specifically women—and is caused by osteoporosis. But this is just one of many different causes of kyphosis. Read on to learn more about other causes, the different types, as well as symptoms to look out for, and how it can be treated.
As previously mentioned, there are many different types of kyphosis. The most common is postural kyphosis, which, as its name implies, is due to poor posture and slouching. The University of Maryland Medical Center explains, “This condition is most common in adolescents and young adults, as they often slouch when standing and sitting, causing the spine to curve forward.”
Scheuermann’s kyphosis is another common type, and occurs as a result of a structural abnormality in the spine, where some of the vertebrae are more triangular in shape, which “causes the vertebrae to wedge together toward the front of the spine, decreasing the normal disk space and creating an exaggerated forward curvature in the upper back,” says the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. In some cases, however, people are born with the condition. This is known as congenital kyphosis, which the source indicates “occurs when the spinal column fails to develop normally while the baby is in utero.”