Kyphosis is a spinal condition that causes patients to appear slouched or hunched over. While most cases of Kyphosis are fairly mild, others can be seriously debilitating. Here are some commonly asked questions about this condition.
- What causes Kyphosis? Kyphosis occurs when bones of the spinal column (the “vertebrae”) become curved in an abnormal manner. It usually occurs in the cervical spinal column or neck region but can also occur in the mid and low back. This deformity can be caused by several factors, including osteoporosis–a bone-thinning disorder which causes weakened or soft bones. Genetics may also be a factor.
- How is this condition diagnosed? Diagnosis begins with a physical exam. The doctor will check a patient’s height, and closely examine the spine. Normally, signs of Kyphosis are obvious, though an X-ray, MRI, or CT scan will be conducted to assess the degree of the curvature. If a patient’s Kyphosis is severe, the spinal column may compress the spinal cord or other organs and potentially cause serious problems.
- What sort of treatments do doctors suggest for Kyphosis? Over-the-counter pain medication, such as Advil or ibuprofen, or stronger prescription pain medication usually helps the pain. Since Kyphosis and osteoporosis are often connected, doctors also usually recommend patients take medications to strengthen bones. Other patients can improve their condition by wearing a corrective brace or by practicing stretching exercises. Severe cases may require surgical correction.
- Will surgery be necessary for Kyphosis? Usually only the most severe cases of Kyphosis require surgery. If the spinal cord is being compressed by the abnormal curve of the neck, then a neurosurgeon will likely suggest surgery to reduce the curvature and decompress the spinal cord. The most common surgical procedure for Kyphosis is known as “Spinal Fusion.” With this procedure, a surgeon is able to restore the normal curvature and maintain it by fusing the vertebrae together. This way, the spinal column is protected from future degeneration.
- Will there be complications following surgery? Although all surgery has associated risks, no intervention may have serious consequences. Ideally, the risks of doing nothing should be much greater compared to the risks of surgery. A formal consultaion and discussion with your neurosurgeon is therefore essential to make the right decision.
Kyphosis Treatment in the Greater Princeton Area
If you have any questions about how to prevent or treat spinal conditions, contact us today to schedule an appointment. Our offices are located in Hamilton, NJ, serving the greater Princeton area. We can be reached at (609) 890-3400. We look forward to serving you!