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Have a Hunched Upper Back? What to Know About Kyphosis

TheHealthy reports on types of kyphosis, a term used to describe an excessive curvature in the spine that leads to a rounded or hunched upper back, and includes insight from experts including John S. Blanco, MD, pediatric orthopedic surgeon at HSS.

Postural kyphosis is the most common type of kyphosis, and it becomes noticeable when adolescents spend too much time slouching or hunched over, but it is not typically painful. According to Dr. Blanco, “We’ve been seeing a lot more postural kyphosis due to the COVID-19 pandemic because children have been forced to sit at computers for six to eight hours a day for remote schooling.”

Another type is Scheuermann’s Kyphosis. Dr. Blanco explained, “Scheuermann’s kyphosis can appear in juveniles and adolescents and is caused by abnormal growth, which is the result of excessive stresses. A person can also progress from postural kyphosis to Scheuermann’s kyphosis.”

And congenital kyphosis, seen at birth, is rare. “Congenital kyphosis can result in severe deformities at any early age,” added Dr. Blanco.

Kyphosis can be diagnosed with a medical evaluation, and a doctor will examine your spine to determine if the cause of your curvature is postural or structural, said Dr. Blanco. During the exam, doctors will look for any other forms of spinal deformity.

“In those with congenital kyphosis, an MRI scan is frequently ordered to evaluate the spinal cord anatomy,” noted Dr. Blanco. “And in growing children, kyphosis needs to be followed.”

Treatment for kyphosis depends on the cause of the disorder and your age. For congenital kyphosis, physical therapy is often used to improve the core body strength, hamstring flexibility, and shoulder mechanics, cited Dr. Blanco.

Read the full article at TheHealthy.com.