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.
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.