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What is Humpback? Print E-mail
Written by Phillip LaVeque   
Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Humpback or Kyphosis is the abnormal forward bending of the spine. In kyphosis, the curve of the spine is abnormal, forming a hump.

What is going on in the body?
The normal spine rounds slightly in the chest area, with arching in the lower back and neck regions. Excessive kyphosis can occur mainly in the chest area of the spine, causing the roundness of the back to appear exaggerated.

What are the causes and risks of the condition?
Kyphosis is generally caused by an abnormal posture. Other possible causes include:
- a significant fracture of the vertebra, which can cause the back to angle forward
- spinal surgery
- Scheuermann's disease, which results in wedging of the vertebrae. This disease is usually seen in teenage boys, and its cause is unknown.
- Pott's disease, which refers to kyphosis due to collapse of the vertebra when tuberculosis infects the spine
- osteoporosis in elderly women, which causes a type of kyphosis known as dowager's hump
- spinal tumors, or surgery to remove them
- nerve disorders

What are the treatments for the condition?

Certain exercises may improve kyphosis related to posture. In growing children with significant Scheuermann's disease, bracing may be needed. Spinal fusion surgery is rarely needed.
What are the side effects of the treatments?

Surgery can possibly lead to infection, failure of the bone to fuse, or spinal cord or nerve injury.
What happens after treatment for the condition?

Progressive kyphosis may occur in spite of exercises and bracing.
How is the condition monitored?

One should watch for potential worsening of posture. Any new or worsening symptoms should be reported to the healthcare provider.


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