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Increased Thoracic Kyphosis

Increased Thoracic Kyphosis (also known as 'roundback' or 'hunchback') is where the mid-upper spine has an exaggerated curve, which makes the back look more round than usual. 

What is Increased Thoracic Kyphosis?

The spine is made up of three sections - Cervical (neck), Thoracic (mid-back) and Lumbar (lower back). Each section has a natural curve, with the cervical and lumbar having a C-shaped curve (called Lordosis), and the thoracic having a reverse C-shaped curve (called Kyphosis). In the thoracic spine, this reverse c-shaped curve is usually between 20-45 degrees. In Increased Thoracic Kyphosis, this curve is extended to more than 50 degrees, and leads to an upper rounded back. 

There are a few different types of Increased Thoracic Kyphosis. The main types are:

  • Postural Kyphosis - seen commonly in teenage years, when kids slouch. Usually disappears on correction to stand up straight. 
  • Age-related Kyphosis - As you get older, the bones of your spine can weaken from osteoporosis, degenerative disk disease, or small fractures. This creates a hunched appearance
  • Post-traumatic Kyphosis - Fractures to your spine can damage the vertebrae and cause the spine to curve.
  • Scheuermann's Kyphosis - see Scheuermann's Disease
  • Congenital Kyphosis - this occurs when the spinal column fails to develop normally while the baby is in the womb. The bones may not form as they should, or several vertebrae may be fused together. Congenital kyphosis typically worsens as the child ages

Increased Thoracic Kyphosis

Signs and Symptoms of Increased Thoracic Kyphosis

Signs and symptoms of Increased Thoracic Kyphosis include: 

  • Rounded shoulders
  • A visible hump on the back
  • Back pain
  • Spine stiffness
  • Fatigue
  • Tight hamstrings 
  • Trouble breathing or swallowing
  • Difficulty walking
  • Weakness, numbness or tingling in the legs
  • Changes in bowel or bladder habits
  • Loss of sensation

Causes of Increased Thoracic Kyphosis

The main causes of Increased Thoracic Kyphosis include:

  • ageing (especially those with poor posture)
  • muscle weakness in upper back
  • Scheuermann's disease
  • Arthritis
  • Osteoporosis
  • Injury to the spine
  • Slipped discs
  • Scoliosis

Statistics and Epidemiology related to Increased Thoracic Kyphosis

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