Kyphosis is a deformity of the backbone (spine). It is when the bones of the spine (vertebrae) in the upper back curve outward more than they should. A child with kyphosis has a back that is abnormally rounded or humpback. The condition is more common in girls than in boys.
A normal spine when looked at from behind appears straight. It can have a curve of 20° to 45° in the upper part of the back. With kyphosis, the curve can be 50° or more.
A child can be born with kyphosis. Or he or she can develop it because of other health reasons. These include:
Kyphosis can also be caused by slouching. In such cases, it is called postural kyphosis. This is the most common type. It is often first noticed in the teen years.
These are the most common symptoms of kyphosis. Symptoms can occur a bit differently in each child. They can include:
The symptoms of kyphosis may seem like other back problems. Or they may be a result of an injury or infection. Make sure your child sees his or her health care provider for a diagnosis.
Your child’s health care provider can diagnose kyphosis with a complete health history of your child, a physical exam and certain tests. He or she will want to know if there is any family history of kyphosis. He or she will also ask about developmental milestones since some types of kyphosis can be linked to other neuromuscular problems.
Your child may need these tests:
Finding kyphosis early is important for successful treatment. If the condition is left untreated, it can lead to problems with lung function. Health care providers, and even some school programs, routinely look for signs of kyphosis in children. Your child may need some other tests such as pulmonary function testing to see if there is any impact on your child's breathing.
Treatment will depend on your child’s symptoms, age and general health. It will also depend on how severe the condition is.
The goal of treatment is to stop the curve from getting worse and prevent deformity. Treatment may include:
From sprains and strains to complex congenital conditions, Children’s National Hospital offers one of the most experienced pediatric orthopaedic practices in the nation with experience in treating all areas from head to toe.
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