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How do I Choose the Best Kyphosis Treatment?

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  • Written By: B. Miller
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 30 November 2016
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Kyphosis is a spinal condition characterized by a rounding of the upper spine, giving a hunchbacked appearance. Sometimes, kyphosis may be caused by poor posture and is easier to correct, but more frequently, kyphosis is a genetic condition that is quite difficult to correct. The best kyphosis treatment is something that should be discussed with your doctor, and is not something that should really be determined on one's own. There are some factors to keep in mind, however.

First, kyphosis can only be diagnosed through an x-ray. Once kyphosis has been diagnosed, the age of the patient has a large impact on the kyphosis treatment. If the condition is discovered in childhood or adolescence, treatment options generally include bracing and physical therapy. Each patient is different, but the brace will generally need to be worn all day long for a few years. Physical therapy may also help to strengthen the muscles of the back, which can help to straighten the spine.

Unfortunately, kyphosis is a condition that tends not to respond very well to bracing, as scoliosis, a similar condition, usually does. Your doctor may then consider further avenues of kyphosis treatment, but this is also based on a few conditions, primarily the degree of curvature. Surgery is the next option for kyphosis treatment, but this type of surgery is extremely extensive, with a fairly high degree of risk. Factors for surgery include the degree of curvature as well as its progression.

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Some surgeons will not operate on a kyphosis curve if it is not more than 60 degrees as measured on an x-ray, and others will not operate if it is not more than 70 degrees. Normal spinal curvature is typically considered to be between 20 and 45 degrees. Progression of the curve is another factor for kyphosis treatment; if the curve is fixed, a surgeon will be less likely to operate than if the curve is progressing, even just a few degrees a year. Surgery to correct kyphosis generally involves fusion of two or more vertebrates, as well as implantation of metal instrumentation to hold the fusion in place while it heals.

When choosing the best kyphosis treatment, it is important to work closely with your doctor and any physical therapists. Ask any and all questions you can think of before having surgery. Most doctors consider surgery to be a last resort, and will not do it for cosmetic reasons. Kyphosis treatment may involve pain management as well, which is something else that needs to be discussed with a doctor.

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