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Kyphosis is a disorder that causes the thoracic spine to curve excessively, giving the appearance of having a rounded or stooped back. Numerous reasons, including osteoporosis, aging-related changes in the spine, trauma or injury, spinal surgery , or congenital disorders, can lead to kyphosis.

What is Meant by Adult Kyphosis?

Adult kyphosis is a medical term for an excessive curvature of the thoracic spine, which can give the appearance of having a stooped or rounded back. Numerous variables, including aging-related changes in the spine, trauma or injury, spinal surgery , or congenital abnormalities, might contribute to the condition. The degree of the curvature can vary from slight to severe, and symptoms including back discomfort, stiffness, and limited range of motion can also occur. In some situations, breathing difficulties or other respiratory issues may also occur. Adult kyphosis can be treated with pain medication, physical therapy, bracing, and occasionally surgery .

What Causes Adult Kyphosis?

There are numerous reasons that can contribute to adult kyphosis, including:

  • Aging-related degenerative changes to the spine: Degenerative alterations to the intervertebral discs can cause a decrease in disc height and spinal instability. This may result in the vertebrae compressing and collapsing, which would cause the thoracic spine to curve excessively.
  • Osteoporosis: Osteoporosis is a disease that results in fragile and brittle bones. This can cause spinal fractures, which may eventually lead to kyphosis.
  • Injury or trauma: Kyphosis can be brought on by a vertebral fracture or dislocation such as one sustained in a vehicle accident or fall.
  • Spinal surgery: Spinal surgery may sometimes be required to treat a spinal problem. But occasionally, complications from the procedure can lead to kyphosis.
  • Congenital conditions: Congenital spinal disorders, such as osteogenesis imperfecta or spinal muscular atrophy, can increase the risk of kyphosis.

Poor posture: Over time, kyphosis can develop as a result of poor posture.

What are the Symptoms of Adult Kyphosis?

Depending on the degree and underlying cause of the disorder, adult kyphosis symptoms might change. Some of the typical signs include:

  • Rounded or hunched back
  • Back stiffness or pain
  • Limited range of motion
  • Muscle weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Breathing difficulty 
  • Numbness in the arms or legs 
  • A decrease in height
  • Abdominal flab or sunken chest

A spinal abnormality may have an impact on looks and make one feel self-conscious. The symptoms might not always be severe enough to warrant medical attention. The quality of life may be greatly impacted by symptoms in more severe cases, and treatment may be required to control pain and stop worsening spinal deformity. It is crucial to consult a healthcare professional if you are experiencing any of these symptoms in order to receive an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan.

How is Adult Kyphosis Diagnosed?

Adult kyphosis is normally diagnosed with a physical examination, review of medical history, and imaging tests. The following are some typical techniques for diagnosing adult kyphosis:

  • Physical examination: During a physical examination, the doctor will look for any irregularities or kyphotic signals in the patient's spine. Additionally, they might look for any muscular weakness in the region, limited range of motion, or pain.
  • Medical history review: Examining the patient's medical history, a healthcare professional will discuss the current symptoms, any ongoing or previous illnesses, and current medications if any. 
  • Imaging tests: To visualize the spine and assess the degree and location of the curvature, imaging studies like X-rays, CT scans, or MRIs may be utilized. To assess the patient's general spinal health, additional procedures like bone density scans or nerve function testing may occasionally be carried out.

Once adult kyphosis has been correctly identified, the healthcare professional can assess the condition's severity and underlying cause in order to create a treatment strategy that is specific to each patient's requirements.

How is Adult Kyphosis Treated?

The treatment options for adult kyphosis treatment include:

  • Management of discomfort: Back pain brought on by adult kyphosis may be treated with painkillers or physical therapy.
  • Bracing: In some circumstances, wearing a brace to support the spine and stop further curvature may be advised.
  • Physical therapy: Physical therapy can assist in enhancing muscle strength, flexibility, and posture, which can help to lessen the curvature of the spine and alleviate symptoms.
  • Surgery: To rectify the curvature and stabilize the spine in severe cases of adult kyphosis, spinal surgery may be advised. To rectify the curvature and release pressure on the spinal cord and nerves, this may require a spinal fusion or other surgical procedures.
  • Lifestyle changes: Making lifestyle changes like improving posture, avoiding sitting or standing for long periods, and exercising regularly can help manage symptoms and stop the spine from further curving.

The particular treatment strategy will be determined by the condition's underlying cause, its severity, the patient's preferences, and general well-being.

What are the Complications of Adult Kyphosis?

Adult kyphosis can cause a variety of issues, particularly if the condition is severe or untreated. 

  • Chronic pain: Chronic back discomfort is a typical adult kyphosis consequence that can significantly lower a person's quality of life.
  • Limited mobility: As the curvature of the spine increases, it may be more difficult for a person to move freely and carry out daily tasks.
  • Breathing issues: In extreme circumstances, the spine's curvature can compress the lungs and cause breathing problems.
  • Cardiovascular issues: Lung compression can also impair cardiovascular health, possibly resulting in heart issues.
  • Neurological issues: The curved nature of the spine can occasionally compress the spinal cord and nerves, resulting in neurological symptoms like tingling, numbness, or weakness in the arms or legs.
  • Digestive problem: Constipation, bloating, and other digestive issues can be brought on by a severe spine curvature that compresses the stomach and intestines.

Psychosocial problem: Adult kyphosis can have an impact on one's self-esteem and perception of one's body, which may result in psychological and social issues like anxiety or depression.

How to Prevent Adult Kyphosis?

There are a number of lifestyle adjustments that can help prevent the formation of kyphosis or lower the chance of the condition getting worse, even though some cases of adult kyphosis are brought on by causes that cannot be avoided:

  • Maintain good posture: When sitting or standing for long periods of time, good posture can help avoid the risk of developing kyphosis.
  • Exercise frequently: Exercising frequently can help avoid kyphosis, improve spinal health overall, and reduce muscle stiffness or weakness.
  • Maintain a healthy weight: Being overweight or obese can strain the spine more and cause kyphosis to develop.
  • Avoid smoking: Avoid smoking as it can eventually weaken your bones and raise the risk of developing kyphosis.
  • Use appropriate ergonomics: By following proper ergonomics like altering the height of chairs and desks, can reduce strain on the spine.
  • Get regular checkups: By identifying any underlying diseases or circumstances that could raise the risk of kyphosis, at an early stage and lower the risk of developing kyphosis. 

Individuals can lower their risk of acquiring kyphosis or stop the condition from getting worse by adopting these lifestyle changes and preventative practices.

Why Choose Medfin?

Surgery can be a daunting aspect, and feeling anxious is absolutely normal. The massive amount of information you can get from the internet may confuse you even more. This is where Medfin can help. Leave us the hefty task of finding the best hospital, the finest doctor, and the latest procedure at the lowest cost. Let us take charge while you sit back and focus on your health and recovery. Think surgery! Think Medfin! 

Frequently Asked Questions

Medfin offers the latest surgical procedures to ensure that you recover as fast as possible in the least painful way possible.

Massage can help lessen the discomfort, increase blood flow, adjust spinal cord alignment, and enhance joint mobility, muscle lengthening, and the dissolution of adhesions. 

The most frequent technique to manage kyphosis is spinal fusion. Here the surgeon fastens the spinal bones together in the ideal position using metal rods and screws.

The length of time it takes to treat or "cure" kyphosis can vary depending on the severity of the condition, the underlying cause, and the chosen treatment approach.  Mild cases of kyphosis may respond well to non-surgical treatments and can be improved within a few months to a year. However, more severe cases may require longer-term treatment or surgery, and the recovery time can take several months or even a year.

The good news is that since postural kyphosis is not structural, it can be treated effectively and even partially reversed by correcting the poor movement and postural habits that contributed to its onset.

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