How will my provider decide what kyphosis treatment I need?

Treatment depends on your:

  • Age.
  • Medical history.
  • Type of kyphosis.
  • Severity of the curve.
  • The goal of treatment is to stop the curve from getting worse. In severe cases, you may need surgery. But most people with kyphosis do not need surgery. Nonsurgical treatment methods can help instead.

What are nonsurgical treatment options for kyphosis?

Providers may recommend nonsurgical treatments for people with postural kyphosis. Nonsurgical options also can help Scheuermann’s kyphosis if the curve is less than 75 degrees.

Treatment options include:

  • Monitoring the curve: Regular X-rays during the teenage years keep tabs on the curve’s progress.
  • Physical therapy: Exercises can strengthen abdominal and back muscles to relieve pain and improve posture. Other exercises can stretch tight hamstrings and strengthen other areas of the body.
  • Pain medication: An-inflammatory medicines can relieve back pain.
  • Back brace: Your provider may recommend a brace in rare cases. It’s most common when children who are still growing have Scheuermann’s kyphosis. Your provider will discuss the type of brace and how many hours a day to wear it.

Will I need kyphosis surgery?

If kyphosis causes severe pain or other symptoms that interfere with your life, surgery can help. A surgical procedure can reduce the curvature to relieve symptoms. Healthcare providers recommend spine surgery for people with:

  • Congenital kyphosis.
  • Scheuermann’s kyphosis with a curve of more than 75 degrees.
  • Severe back pain, even after trying nonsurgical treatment.

What happens in kyphosis surgery?

The most common kyphosis surgery is spinal fusion surgery. During this procedure, your surgeon:

  • Lines up the vertebrae in a straighter position.
  • Bonds them together by using small pieces of bone to fill the spaces between the vertebrae.

As the vertebrae heal, they fuse or join together. This procedure reduces the severity of the curve to support your body better. It prevents the curve from getting worse.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 11/06/2020.

References

  • American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Kyphosis (Roundback) of the Spine. Accessed 10/5/2020.
  • Mansfield JT, Bennett M. Scheuermann Disease. [Updated 2020 Aug 15]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2020 Jan-.
  • NHS. Kyphosis. Accessed 10/5/2020.
  • Parvizi J and Kim GK. Kyphosis. In: Parvizi J, Ed. High-Yield Orthopaedics. Philadelphia, PA:Elsevier; 2010:266-267.
  • Pediatric Orthopaedic Society of North America. Kyphosis. Accessed 10/5/2020.

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