Also known as round back or hunchback, kyphosis, or Scheuermann’s Kyphosis is a condition in which the upper back develops an exaggerated curvature, generally more than 50 degrees. In cases of this condition, patients cannot fully straighten their spine, causing them to live in a hunched over position.

Causes and risk factors for kyphosis

There are a variety of different causes for kyphosis. Some of the most common include developmental issues and degenerative conditions. Though kyphosis can impact people of all ages, research shows that some people are at a higher risk of developing the condition than others. These include:

  • Adolescent girls with poor posture
  • Individuals with connective tissue disorders
  • Boys between the ages of 10 and 15
  • Older adults with conditions that have caused spinal fractures


Some patients with this condition may never experience any external signs of having kyphosis, while others will develop a visible hump. Though not all patients will experience the pain and symptoms associated with this condition, those with severe kyphosis may experience symptoms such as:

  • Back pain
  • Hunchback or a slouching posture
  • Fatigue
  • Stiffness and tenderness in the spine
  • Lung pain
  • Trouble breathing
  • Internal organ damage

Because many patients never develop these symptoms, often mild cases of kyphosis go undiagnosed. If you or someone you know is suffering from pain or symptoms that may be associated with kyphosis, do not hesitate to contact your doctor about a diagnosis.

Treatment options

Because the severity of the condition can vary so widely, it is important to talk to your doctor before undergoing any kyphosis treatment. For mild cases, often conservative treatments are recommended as the first step in finding relief. These include swimming, physical therapy, low-impact exercise or massage. Surgery is generally reserved as a last resort for this type of condition. For more information, talk to your physician today.