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Kyphosis & Scoliosis

Your spine is made up of 4 parts: Bones, Discs,
Nerves & Soft Tissue (Muscle).

Kyphosis & Scoliosis

“Kyphosis is defined as the backward bending of the spine. The normal range for kyphosis is a curve of 30-40 degrees”

Increased kyphosis is most often the result of poor posture and not by structural changes in the spine. Postural kyphosis can be distinguished from Scheuermann’s kyphosis by the fact that the increased curvature.e resolves when the patient lies down. When this natural curve (primarily in the thoracic or mid back area) is increased and there are specific structural changes in the vertebrae this curvature may be diagnosed as Scheuermann’s Kyphosis.

What causes kyphosis?

As with other curvatures of the spine, the cause of this curvature is unknown. In some cases there may be a familial occurrence.

How is kyphosis detected?

This disorder can be detected by the visible presence of deformity, aching back pain or increased lumbar lordosis (swayback). The diagnosis is confirmed by obtaining an x-ray

Scheuermann’s kyphosis can be treated with a Milwaukee brace if the child is still growing and has not reached skeletal maturity. Most often, surgery is the treatment. The surgery always includes a fusion with spinal instrumentation (rods and screws or hooks) to correct the deformity and stabilize the spine.

Surgery typically includes two steps:

  • Front/Anterior approach to release the tightened ligament, remove the discs and insert bone grafts;
  • Back/Posterior approach to place rods and screws to hold the spine straight during bone fusion.

For many adults, the treatment usually includes anti-inflammatory drugs, observation and possibly surgery, depending on the symptoms.

Scoliosis

Scoliosis is an abnormal curvature of the spine. A condition known as idiopathic (cause unknown) scoliosis is most common in young adolescent females though it also occurs in boys. This form of scoliosis sometimes progresses slowly and may not be detected until a person is an adult. Scoliosis has a genetic component and frequently runs in families. Certain neuromuscular disorders such as muscular dystrophy can also cause scoliosis. Additionally asymmetric degeneration of the discs between vertebrae can cause scoliosis, particularly in adults.

The principal symptom of scoliosis is an abnormal curvature viewed from behind, most frequently in the upper back. One hip may be higher than the other, the shoulders and hips may be uneven, and one shoulder blade frequently appears more prominent than the other. The spine may also be rotated in from its normal position, causing the ribs on one side to be more prominent. Small curves usually cause no pain, but extensive curvature may cause back pain, breathing problems, and severe deformity.

The cause of idiopathic scoliosis is unknown, but a family history of scoliosis increases the risk. Contrary to some beliefs, scoliosis is not caused by poor posture or carrying loads on the back. Adult onset scoliosis is typically caused by asymmetric disc degeneration where one side of the spine experiences degenerative conditions more than the other.

Treatment of idiopathic curves generally involves preventing the curve from becoming worse with a brace. Where there is an extensive curve or a high likelihood of the curve progressing, surgery can be done to correct as much of the curvature as possible and fuse the spine to prevent future problems. For scoliosis, spinal fusion using spinal instrumentation is the most common surgical procedure. Using a combination of rods, hooks, cables, screws, and cages, the surgeon very carefully moves the spine back into a more normal alignment. Then the surgeon puts in a bone graft (usually using bone from the patient’s body) or a biological substance (which will stimulate bone growth) to help the bones in the spine fuse together over time.

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