Postural kyphosis (kye-FOH-sis)
is a rounding or hunching of the back that usually affects teens.
What Are the Signs & Symptoms of Postural Kyphosis?
Teens with postural kyphosis have a smooth, round shape of the upper back. It can
look like a hunched back. It usually isn't painful.
Unlike with other types of kyphosis, someone with postural kyphosis can straighten
the spine when asked to stand up straight.
What Causes Postural Kyphosis?
Postural kyphosis happens when someone slouches a lot. This "bad" posture makes
the back muscles and the bones
in the spine get used to that position. After a while, the back stays in a rounded
or hunched shape.
Who Gets Postural Kyphosis?
Postural kyphosis is most common in teenage girls, though boys can get it too.
How Is Postural Kyphosis Diagnosed?
A doctor will examine the spine while the child:
bends forward from the waist
is lying down flat
X-rays of the spine sometimes can help confirm the diagnosis.
Pulmonary (lung) function
tests can help if the doctor is concerned that the kyphosis is affecting breathing.
The doctor might order an MRI scan
of the back if he or she thinks something else could be causing the problem, such
as an infection or tumor. But these types of tests are rarely needed for postural
How Is Postural Kyphosis Treated?
can help to improve posture. Exercises can strengthen the back muscles to help them
better support the spine. Sleeping on a firm bed can help some people too.
Sometime the doctor will refer kids to an orthopedist (a doctor who treats conditions
involving the bones). The orthopedist will examine the spine to see the cause and
extent of the kyphosis and then recommend treatment.
Postural kyphosis doesn't get worse, especially after a teen is done growing. Learning
better posture and strengthening the back muscles will prevent problems with posture
later in life. If you notice your child has a rounded back and a hunched posture,
talk to your doctor.