Kyphosis, a deformity of the spine, is an exaggerated rounding of the upper back. It is sometimes referred to as hunchback, sway back, or round back. Our West Harrison spine surgeon, Dr. Andrew Casden, is prepared to offer expert guidance, from diagnosis to treatment. We’ll discuss here the symptoms of kyphosis, the diagnostic process, and treatment options that are available.
Kyphosis can occur in teenagers or adults. The most obvious symptom is, of course, an abnormally curved spine. Other symptoms include back pain and stiffness, though some instances produce no symptoms at all. It usually presents without pain in teenagers, but adults sometimes suffer pain from the body’s attempts to adjust to the new spinal alignment. Our West Harrison spine surgeon will use imaging tests to diagnose the presence of kyphosis.
The three imaging tests used are x-rays, MRI, and CT scans. Our West Harrison spine surgeon will discuss which is the most appropriate for you after determining your symptoms. X-rays help in measuring the degree of curvature. In addition, they can determine vertebrae deformities. This will allow Dr. Casden to diagnose the type of kyphosis present. A CT (computerized tomography) scan may be ordered by our West Harrison spine surgeon if he requires additional detail. CT scans take images from a variety of angles and that gives Dr. Casden a more in-depth view. An MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) will be used if our West Harrison spine surgeon thinks you may have a tumor or an infection. This will give him a detailed image of your spine, the bone and the soft tissues, and allow him to identify if a tumor of infection is present.
Treatment of kyphosis for teenagers generally is confined to either observation or the use of a brace when necessary. For adults, therapy and medication is typically used by our West Harrison spine surgeon. Drugs such as pain relievers or osteoporosis medication might be suggested. Kyphosis can be a warning sign for osteoporosis and in those instances, it can be helpful. For both teens and adults, surgery is sometimes needed. In teenagers, surgery improves the curve of the spine and enhances its cosmetic appearance.