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Back Problem: Kyphosis

What Is Kyphosis?

Kyphosis is when someone has a rounded or hunched back.

The spine is also called the backbone, but it isn't just one bone. It's made of many little bones, called vertebrae. These are all stacked up and held together by ligaments.

Normally the spine curves a little. This gentle curve is normal, and it helps support your head and upper body. For someone with kyphosis, the spine is curved too much.

Kyphosis can cause discomfort or make it harder to breathe. Usually, though, it doesn't lead to any problems and nothing needs to be done about it. In a few cases, it can be serious enough that a kid has to wear a back brace or have an operation.

kyphosis illustration

What if I Have Kyphosis?

If it turns out that you have kyphosis, you and your parent can talk to the doctor about what to do next. If it seems like the rounding of your back isn't going to cause any problems, you may not need any treatment. You'll still have to get checkups until you're fully grown to make sure your back isn't curving more. But after that, kyphosis usually won't get any worse.

In some cases, kids might see a back specialist who will examine your spine. This person can check out your kyphosis and figure out what caused it.

So, if you notice back pain or that your back seems a little rounded or hunched, talk to your parent or a trusted adult. It's important to see the specialist and get checked out.

What if a Friend Has Kyphosis?

If you have a friend or classmate who has kyphosis, the best thing to do is just be a friend. Your friend probably can do all the things you like to do together. Sometimes your friend could have back pain, so be understanding if they might not want to play at times.

If your friend is nervous that people will tease, just be there and let them know they have a friend in you. If your friend misses school for appointments or for surgery, you could offer to visit or do homework together. Your friend is still your same friend — and lucky to have a caring friend like you.

Reviewed by: Suken A. Shah, MD;Alicia McCarthy, APRN
Date Reviewed: 03-12-2018

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