The symptoms of kyphosis are often mild and do not get any worse with time.
Your back will also appear slouched or hunched, depending on how severe the roundness of the spine is.
In very severe cases, kyphosis can cause breathing difficulties and problems with eating. If you have severe kyphosis, your symptoms may get worse with time.
- Bad posture
- A structural problem with the spine
- Surgery to the spine
Bad posture over a long period of time is a common cause of kyphosis. For example, if you slouch when you stand up, this stretches your spinal ligaments and can increase the natural curvature of your spine.
Postural kyphosis is more common in girls than boys and is slow to develop. It usually occurs during adolescence and generally will not get any worse with time.
There are several conditions that can affect the structure of the spine and cause kyphosis.
Kyphosis can be present at birth (congenital) when parts of the spine do not develop properly, though this is rare.
The structural problems that can lead to kyphosis are listed below.
Fractures of the vertebrae
Fractures can be caused by conditions that weaken the vertebrae (the small bones that make up the spine), such as osteoporosis. If the fractures are uneven, they can cause the spine to curve.
Spondylolisthesis is where one vertebra slips out of place. It can be caused by a birth defect or a disease such as arthritis.
Sometimes, kyphosis can be caused by a problem with the way the spine grows. The back of the vertebrae in the upper part of the spine grow more quickly than the front, making each vertebra grow into a wedge shape. When several vertebrae wedge together in a row, it causes a curve in the spine. This usually develops in adolescents whose bones are still growing. It is sometimes referred to as Scheuermann’s disease and the cause is unknown.
Surgery to the spine
Occasionally, kyphosis can be caused by surgery to the spine. For example, the spine may curve abnormally after an operation to remove some of the bone surrounding the spine.