We treat a number of different spinal conditions here at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic, and one condition that we see more infrequently is congenital kyphosis.

The most common causes of hyperkyphosis - an abnormally prominent forward curvature of the spine - are poor posture and old age. Congenital kyphosis, however, begins to develop before birth, usually within the first 6-8 weeks of embryonic development. A certain genetic defect seems to affect how the vertebrae and discs develop, pushing the spine forward at an angle. When this happens, the baby will be born with vertebrae that have not formed properly, or with multiple vertebrae joined together, causing the spine to curve forward.

Congenital Kyphosis Treatment

How to treat congenital kyphosis

As with other curvatures of the spine, there is no one-size-fits-all treatment for congenital kyphosis. The right treatment plan depends on the particulars of the case at hand.

As congenital kyphosis develops before birth, it is often treated when the patient is very young. For that reason, doctors will sometimes advise waiting to see if the child's back corrects itself during growth, closely monitoring the angle of the spine over time.

In other cases, the severity of the condition may lead to a decision that spinal fusion surgery is necessary to stop the curve from developing any further. This is a major (though generally safe) operation that not everyone is comfortable with, particularly when the patient is so young.

There are alternatives to surgery - exercise-based programmes such as our own ScolioGold method (which combines a number of physiotherapy exercises and techniques to help the patient with the symptoms of their spinal curvature) can be very effective in the right circumstances. Physical therapy aims to reduce the angle of the patient's spinal curve, ameliorate symptoms such as pain and stiffness, and help with the patient's body image / self-confidence. Click here to see some before and after pictures of our hyperkyphosis patients.

If you would like to attend a consultation at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic and find out more about our hyperkyphosis treatment courses, we would be more than happy to welcome you. We can also conduct remote consultations via Skype or over the phone if you live far away. Get in touch today to arrange your consultation.

Hyperkyphosis is a spinal disorder which refers to the excessive forward curvature of the upper back. Hyperkyphosis is usually diagnosed once the curvature reaches over 50 degrees; prior to that, it is just known as kyphosis and does not typically require treatment.

What is a hyperkyphosis brace? 

A hyperkyphosis brace is a form of treatment to rectify a spinal curvature in adolescents. These braces are not usually recommended for adults as the spine stops growing once adulthood is reached and it would not provide any benefits. The brace is used to help straighten the spine and help strengthen the back. A hyperkyphosis brace usually straightens the spine, pulls the shoulders back and allows the chin to sit upright.

Kyphosis Brace

The hyperkyphosis brace also takes the pressure off the spine and encourages it to grow in a more upright position. Every spine typically has a slight amount of curvature, but as hyperkyphosis can cause health issues bracing is required to avoid these further complications.

When is a hyperkyphosis brace needed? 

Once the degree of the curvature surpasses 50 degrees a Hyperkyphosis brace may be needed. Hyperkyphosis can occur at any age and can even occur before birth. This is known as congenital kyphosis and means several vertebra fuse together or the spinal bones do not form properly. In this case, treatment such as using a hyperkyphosis brace is needed from a very young age.

Scheuermann’s and bad posture are also causes of this condition. If these forms of hyperkyphosis develop before adulthood, hyperkyphosis braces can be used to stunt the progression of the spinal curve.

How long do you have to wear a hyperkyphosis brace?

Depending on the severity of the case, you may be required to wear a hyperkyphosis brace for the most part of every day. If worn from a young age, it may be possible to stop wearing the brace once your spine has stopped growing. This is typically around the age of 16-18 for girls and 18-20 for boys.

If the curvature is mild, a hyperkyphosis brace may need to be worn for less time but this should be discussed with your doctor beforehand.

Here at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic, we help patients with all different types of spinal disorders, from scoliosis to hyperkyphosis. Our treatment course provides patients with a non-surgical alternative and allows the spine to improve through physical therapy. You can take a look at the results of our ScolioGold course here.

If you’re interested in a non-surgical alternative for your hyperkyphosis, you can book an initial consultation with us today. We look forward to hearing from you.

Hyperkyphosis Treatment

Whereas scoliosis is a sideways curvature of the spine, hyperkyphosis is the medical term for an excessive forward spinal curve. This causes the top of the back to become more rounded than usual - you might know this condition as 'dowager's hump' or simply a 'hunchback'.

Hyperkyphosis can develop due to bad posture (postural kyphosis), as the result of another underlying condition (such as Scheuermann’s disease), or because of spinal fractures. Hyperkyphosis is considered severe if the curve angle exceeds 45 degrees, but even mild cases can cause back pain, stiffness, fatigue, and a number of other symptoms. As with scoliosis, there are a number of different hyperkyphosis treatment methods in use, including both surgical and non-surgical options.

Non-surgical hyperkyphosis treatments

Bracing

During adolescence, bracing may be required to stunt the progression of the hyperkyphosis in moderate to severe cases. Bracing aims to ensure that the degree of the curvature does not develop any further than it already has. The patient may be required to continue wearing the brace until their spine stops growing at around 16 years of age.

Pain management

As is the case for many health problems, pain management is often a central part of hyperkyphosis treatment. Painkillers such as ibuprofen or paracetamol can help to relieve the aches and pains that derive from having a curvature of the spine. If the patient is in a lot of pain, stronger pain relief medications may be prescribed.

Physical therapy

Though it does require some work on the patient’s part, physiotherapy is a great way to treat hyperkyphosis. Physical therapy courses such as our own ScolioGold method can straighten the back, reduce pain, and improve the patient's quality of life in general - see before and after photos here.

Surgical hyperkyphosis treatment

If the curvature becomes so severe that the patient is having difficulty going about their day, surgical methods of hyperkyphosis treatment become available. Hyperkyphosis surgery corrects the appearance of the curvature, but there is also a small risk that it will lead to further complications such as infection, nerve damage or even - in a tiny minority of cases - paralysis.

Spinal fusion is the standard surgical procedure for hyperkyphosis. This involves fusing the vertebrae together to correct the spine's curvature. Method rods, screws, hooks and bone grafts are used during the operation to fuse the bones together. According to the NHS, the operation takes 4-8 hours, and a back brace may need to be worn for up to 9 months while your spine heals.

Here at Scoliosis SOS, we provide non-surgical physiotherapy courses for those suffering from scoliosis and hyperkyphosis. If this sounds like something that could help you improve your condition, please don't hesitate to get in touch today.

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