Kyphotic Deformities and Conditions


Patients with parts of the spine that curve too much, or a rounding of the back, may have a kyphotic deformity. This results in slouched posture or a hunchback appearance. About 1 in 1,000 people have this condition, and it can develop at any age.

Causes and Risk Factors

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


  • 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


  • Scheuermann kyphosis: A more serious form of the condition that is the result of deformities in the vertebrae. Children 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: A birth defect that is the result of misshaped vertebrae.

Diagnosis and Tests

A physical exam, MRI and X-rays may be used to diagnose this condition.

Treatment and 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 and 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.