And how does it differ from kyphosis and lordosis?
Kyphosis is the rounding of the back. Most people have a natural kyphotic posture of 20-45 degrees. In some instances, the kyphotic posture exceeds a curve of 50 degrees or greater. While this is generally referred to as kyphosis, this exaggerated curve is technically hyperkyphosis. Hyperkyphosis is often called roundback or hunchback. (Some may remember it being called “dowager’s hump” years ago, however, that term is no longer used because of its derogatory connotation.)
Hyperkyphosis can develop when the spinal bones weaken and cause compression, typically as a result of aging. This can often lead to compression fractures and might require a minimally invasive procedure like kyphoplasty. Kyphosis can also occur as a result of abnormal spine development in infants or during adolescence.
Kyphosis lordosis is not a condition but rather confused for two separate conditions: kyphosis, which is the rounding of the back that creates a curve forward, and lordosis, which is when the back curves backward.
FAQs About Hyperkyphosis, Kyphosis, and Kyphosis Lordosis
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Treatments for This Condition
What are the types of kyphosis?
Kyphosis can affect several regions of the spine. Thoracic kyphosis refers to an abnormal curvature in the upper back. Lumbar kyphosis refers to an excessive curve of the spine in the lumbar region, also known as the lower back. Cervical kyphosis causes an abnormal rounding of the top of the spine at the neck.
In addition to the area of the spine where hyperkyphosis exists, kyphosis is also defined by several common types. The most common type is postural kyphosis. Postural kyphosis is typically the result of poor posture that stretches the muscles and ligaments holding the spinal bones in place. This type of kyphosis often worsens with age. Over time, the stretching pulls the spinal bones out of normal position, causing a curve shape in the spine.
Scheuermann’s kyphosis occurs when vertebrae do not develop properly. This type of kyphosis can result in more severe spinal deformity than postural kyphosis.
The rarest type of kyphosis, congenital kyphosis, occurs at birth and is a result of issues with the development of the spinal column. It typically worsens with age and often requires surgery at a young age to stop progression of the curve.
What is kyphosis lordosis?
There is no condition defined as kyphosis lordosis. Rather, both kyphosis and lordosis are conditions that affect the curvature of the spine.
Kyphosis is a c-shaped curve of the spine, with the opening of the “C” facing the front of the body. Lordosis also involves a c-shaped curve of the spine but the “C” opening is facing the back of the body.
Some degree of kyphosis exists normally in the mid back and some degree of lordosis exists normally in the neck and lower back. However, kyphosis and lordosis can also occur pathologically in the spine. This means the curvature is exaggerated and may cause pain and other symptoms that require treatment.
What are the signs and symptoms of hyperkyphosis?
Symptoms of hyperkyphosis vary based on severity. However, common symptoms include:
- a difference in shoulder height and shoulder blade position
- muscle weakness
- a slight forward bending of the head
- an exaggerated curvature of the back
- tenderness of the spine
- balance issues
- tingling in the legs
While mild kyphosis may cause no noticeable signs or symptoms, individuals with hyperkyphosis may experience pain or stiffness in the neck, back, and shoulder blades, as well as difficulty standing.
What are the risk factors for kyphosis?
Risk factors for kyphosis include anything that may impact the bones in the spine, including low bone density or osteoporosis. Spinal bones may change in shape or shift in location due to factors including:
How is hyperkyphosis diagnosed?
Your Denver spine specialist can diagnose kyphosis with a physical examination and diagnostic procedures such as X-rays and CT scans to measure and evaluate the curve of the vertebrae. Your neurosurgeon may also order bone density tests if osteoporosis or low bone density is suspected.
What kyphosis treatments are available?
Kyphosis treatment depends on the severity of your condition. Medications including over-the-counter and prescription pain relievers may help relieve discomfort. Osteoporosis medications may be prescribed to prevent spinal fractures that may worsen your kyphosis. Stretching and strengthening exercises may also help improve pain and flexibility.
If your kyphosis is extreme and caused by compression fractures, our Neurosurgery One Denver spine surgeon may recommend kyphoplasty, a minimally invasive procedure that treats spine fractures by injecting a special cement into your vertebrae. During kyphoplasty, your Denver neurosurgeon or physiatrist will create space in the compressed area with a balloon that expands your vertebrae to its normal height. Kyphoplasty is most effective when performed within 12 weeks of the fracture occurring.
For patients with larger compression fractures, a newer type of kyphoplasty called spine jack kyphoplasty may be recommended. The spine jack procedure involves the insertion of small expandable spine jacks into the compressed vertebrae. Like traditional kyphoplasty, the procedure includes the injection of bone cement to provide stability to the fracture.
Rarely, kyphosis can cause pinching of the spinal cord or nerve roots. In this case, an expert Denver neurosurgeon would perform a spinal fusion surgery by lining up the spinal bones in a straight position and bonding them together. Learn more about treatments options and our Spine Fracture & Bone Health Clinics in Littleton and Lakewood, Colo.