Kyphosis is a condition that may not be immediately recognizable to you. If you have ever read or seen the movie The Hunchback of Notre Dame, then you have already been exposed to this condition. Kyphosis is something that affects many people worldwide. You can tell if you or someone else is suffering from this because you will notice an unusual curve in the upper back area. The vertebral column or spinal column is made up of several vertebrae that provide stability and support to our bodies. The top seven articulating vertebrae bones in the spinal column are referred to as the cervical regions. The area below these bones are comprised of about twelve vertebrae and are collectively called the thoracic region.

Kyphosis causes those regions of the back bone to deform and abnormally curve where it should be more erect. When this occurs the back no longer has what it takes to display good posture and thus hunches over. When the spine curves, this becomes a threat to the entire body which depends on the spine to remain relatively straight. A curved spine can cause you to have difficulty breathing and sleeping. In a social setting, having this condition can make you more self-conscious and less outgoing. In more severe circumstances, Kyphosis can even be fatal.

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Although there are about five forms of Kyphosis, they all have relatively the same effects. Kyphosis can be spurred by a number of things. This can include arthritis, nutritional deficiency, developmental issues at birth and during childhood, osteoporosis, trauma and fractures.

Arthritis is a degenerative disease that causes joints between the bones to be damaged. Osteoarthritis is most common type of this disease. Osteoarthritis can occur as a result of trauma and injury. It can also take effect due to age. This kind of arthritis causes the joints of the body to lose control over the weight of certain areas including the back. The joints become less capable of doing their job of connecting bones in the spinal column. When these joints are damaged the vertebrae begin to curve.

Osteoporosis is a bone disease that can contribute to Kyphosis. This disease is classified by bone deterioration that can cause fractures. If enough of the vertebra in the spinal column become fractured, this could lead the thoracic region of the spine to curve and create a hunchback over time.

-Trauma is a cause for Kyphosis, especially with younger people. When you take part in contact sports like football and hockey, this could cause the joints of the backbone to become damaged and allow the vertebrae to arch over. Elderly people are more likely to have slip and fall accidents that can cause trauma as well.


Undergoing physical therapy or wearing a brace can curb the effects of Kyphosis. You should exercise extreme caution when considering a surgical procedure to treat Kyphosis. Surgery should only be an option if the symptoms are severe. Surgical complications could be much worse than the symptoms of the actual condition.

Filed Under: Back Pain
Written By:  Updated:
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Jesse Cannone, CFT, CPRS, MFT

Jesse is the co-founder and visionary CEO of The Healthy Back Institute®, the world-leading source of natural back pain solutions. His mission as a former back pain sufferer is to help others live pain free without surgery and pharmaceuticals.

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