A healthy spine is made up of vertebrae that look like cylinders put on top of one another to form a column. Kyphosis is when the vertebrae in the upper back is more wedge shaped, which leads to an excessive, forward rounding of the back. It can appear in infants or teens, but it is most commonly found in older women.
In addition to an abnormal curvature of the spine, someone who has mild kyphosis can experience back pain and stiffness. Fractures, disk degeneration, birth defects, osteoporosis, cancer and cancer treatments can all lead to an abnormal vertebrae. Kyphosis is linked to weak back muscles and an individual can have difficulty walking, driving, and looking up. Pain can also be felt when the individual lies down and there can be problems with breathing and digestion if the situation is severe. Depending on the individual’s age and the cause, the treatment can vary for each individual.