The cervical spine is the top of the backbone. It normally has a slight curve to
Cervical kyphosis (SUR-vih-kull kye-FOE-sis) is when the top of the spine curves
in the opposite direction than normal. That can lead to problems.
What Happens in Cervical Kyphosis?
Most cervical kyphosis isn't serious. But if the curve is severe, bones in the
might pinch the spinal cord. This can damage the spinal cord.
The spinal cord is the body's central communication
system. It's a tube of nerves that runs inside the spine. The nerves branch out to
every part of the body. They send messages between the brain and the rest of the body.
If damage is very bad, the nerves can't send important signals like telling the
lungs to breathe or blood to move around the body.
What Are the Signs & Symptoms of Cervical Kyphosis?
Here are some things parents may notice when a child has cervical kyphosis:
an unusual curve in the child's neck
the child has trouble looking up or turning his or her head
the child has neck pain
If the curve is sharp enough to pinch the spinal cord, kids might have these problems:
pain, tingling, loss of feeling, or weakness
be unable to move their arms or legs
trouble peeing or pooping
accidents because they can't control when they pee or poop (called incontinence)
How Is Cervical Kyphosis Diagnosed?
If you think your child has a neck problem, make an appointment with your pediatrician.
The doctor, nurse, or physician assistant will ask about what's going on. They will
order tests like X-rays.
If the pediatrician thinks your child needs specialized help, he or she will send
you to a specialist. Specialists who treat kids with kyphosis are:
neurologists (experts in the nervous system)
neurosurgeons (doctors who operate on the brain and spinal cord)
orthopedists (experts in bones, muscles, and joints)
How Is Cervical Kyphosis Treated?
Treatment depends on the child's age and how bad the curve is. Here are some of
the things health care providers use:
Bracing. Children may wear a neck brace to treat cervical kyphosis.
therapists work with kids to help improve flexibility and posture and reduce pain.
Pain management. If kids have pain, doctors and nurses prescribe
medicines and other pain management techniques.
Surgery. Kids need surgery when a curve puts pressure on the spinal
cord in a way that may cause nerve damage. Kids who also have diseases that make their
bones weak or slow to heal may need more than one operation.
What Causes Cervical Kyphosis?
Kids can get cervical kyphosis in three ways:
1. They are born with it.
This is called congenital cervical kyphosis. No one knows what
causes it. Doctors do know that it has nothing to do with anything a mom did when
she was pregnant.
2. Something goes wrong in the body.
This is called acquired cervical kyphosis. Lots of different things
can cause it, such as:
injury to the bones of the spine or the ligaments around them