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A to Z: Kyphosis

May also be called: Roundback or Hunchback

Kyphosis (ki-FO-sis) is an abnormal rounding of the spine that occurs in the upper and middle part of the back. Kyphosis can occur at any age but often becomes evident during adolescence.

More to Know

Several types of kyphosis can affect kids and teens:

  • Congenital kyphosis is a result of abnormal spinal development before a baby is born.
  • Postural kyphosis happens when bones and muscles develop irregularly, possibly due to slouching or poor posture.
  • Scheuermann's kyphosis, which can run in families, is caused by the wedging together of several vertebrae in a row and usually is seen in teens.

Kyphosis also can be due to neuromuscular, connective tissue, or endocrine problems.

Usually, mild kyphosis doesn't lead to any problems or need to be treated. Severe and visible cases of kyphosis, however, can be painful, cause problems in the lungs and other organs, or lead to emotional issues. In these cases a back brace, surgery, or physical therapy might be recommended.

Keep in Mind

Kids and teens with kyphosis can lead active, normal lives and usually won't have any restrictions placed on them. Sports and activities don't make kyphosis worse, so even after surgery it's OK for them to be active (while following their doctor's advice on how to do so safely).

All A to Z dictionary entries are regularly reviewed by KidsHealth medical experts.

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