Kyphosis is a condition in which part of the spine curves too much, causing a rounding of the back. This results in slouched posture or a hunchback.

About 1 in 1,000 people have kyphosis.

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Patients can be seen by Texas Children's experts in Orthopedics.

Causes & Risk Factors

Kyphosis can develop at any age.

Risk factors include:

  • Neuromuscular conditions
  • Certain metabolic problems
  • Spina bifida
  • Congenital kyphosis that can affect a child at birth

Symptoms & Types

Symptoms include:

  • A hump in the upper portion of the back
  • Uneven shoulders
  • The head leans forward past the rest of their body when standing.
  • Tight hamstrings


  • Hyper-kyphosis is an exaggerated hump in the upper portion of the back.
  • Scheuermann kyphosis is a more serious form of the condition that is the result of deformities in the vertebrae. Children suffering from Scheuermann kyphosis will develop a curvature in the spine as they grow because the back portion of the vertebrae develops faster than the front portion.
  • Congenital kyphosis is a birth defect seen in babies that is the result of misshaped vertebrae.

Diagnosis & Tests

A physical exam, X-rays and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) may be used to diagnose this condition.

Treatment & Care

Treatment depends on the severity of the kyphosis. Bracing is commonly used during a child's growing years to stop further curvature. In more severe cases of kyphosis, surgery may be recommended.

Living & Managing

Many patients do well without treatment. Others benefit from physical therapy or exercise.  Even children with severe kyphosis usually are able to be active after treatment.

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