What Is Kyphosis? Kyphosis (kye-FOH-sis) makes a person's spine rounded so the back looks hunched over. Everyone has some rounding of the spine. But a larger rounding than normal can cause health problems like pain and breathing trouble. Doctors sometimes treat kyphosis with back braces and physical therapy. A larger curve might need surgery. What Happens in Kyphosis? The spine is called “the backbone” but it's not just one bone. It's made of lots of small bones (called vertebrae ) that are stacked and connected by a type of elastic tissue called cartilage. This gives us the flexibility to bend, stretch, balance, and walk. The stacked vertebrae are slight rounded, making the upper back curve out a little bit. When the curve is larger than normal, it's called kyphosis. Kyphosis also can happen in the neck. This is called cervical kyphosis. What Are the Types of Kyphosis? The different types of kyphosis in the back are: Congenital kyphosis: A problem with how the vertebrae developed before birth causes this type of kyphosis. It is more noticeable as a child grows. Read more about congenital kyphosis. Postural kyphosis: This is the most common kind of kyphosis. Kids who slouch over a lot (have "bad" posture) can develop a rounded back. Read more about postural kyphosis. Scheuermann's kyphosis: Viewed from the side, vertebrae look like stacked rectangles. In Scheuermann's kyphosis, the vertebrae are triangles, or wedge shaped. This makes the spine hunch forward. Read more about Scheuermann's kyphosis. Back to Articles Related Articles Kyphosis Your spine, or backbone, normally curves forward gently as it runs up your back. Sometimes, though, someone's back can be rounded too far forward, which is a condition known as kyphosis. Read More X-Ray Exam: Cervical Spine This X-ray can, among other things, help find the cause of neck, shoulder, upper back, or arm pain. It's commonly done after someone has been in an automobile or other accident. Read More Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI): Lumbar Spine A lumbar spine MRI is a painless test that uses a magnetic field and radio waves to produce detailed pictures of the bones, disks, and other structures in the lower back. Read More Scoliosis Scoliosis makes a person’s spine curve from side to side. Large curves can cause health problems like pain or breathing trouble. Health care providers treat scoliosis with back braces or surgery when needed. Read More Bones, Muscles, and Joints Without bones, muscles, and joints, we couldn't stand, walk, run, or even sit. The musculoskeletal system supports our bodies, protects our organs from injury, and enables movement. Read More Common Childhood Orthopedic Conditions Flatfeet, toe walking, pigeon toes, bowlegs, and knock-knees. Lots of kids have these common orthopedic conditions, but are they medical problems that can and should be corrected? Read More Your Bones Where would you be without your bones? Learn more about the skeletal system in this article for kids. Read More Cervical Kyphosis Cervical kyphosis is a curve at the top of the spine (backbone). Usually, the condition isn't serious, but a pinch in the spinal cord can cause nerve damage. Read More Congenital Kyphosis Kyphosis is a rounding of the back that some children are born with. It makes the back look hunched over. Read More Kyphosis Factsheet (for Schools) What teachers should know about this curvature of the spine, and how to help students with kyphosis do their best in school. Read More Postural Kyphosis Postural kyphosis is rounding or hunching of the back that usually affects teens. Read More Scheuermann's Kyphosis Scheuermann's kyphosis is a condition affecting the upper back that makes it rounded so it looks hunched over. Read More Spinal Fusion Surgery A spinal fusion is a surgical procedure that's done to stabilize or straighten the bones in the back. It can help kids and teens with scoliosis. Read More Spinal Fusion Surgery A spinal fusion is a surgical procedure that's done to stabilize or straighten the bones in the back. It can help some teens with scoliosis. Read More Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor. © 1995-2021 KidsHealth®. All rights reserved. Images provided by The Nemours Foundation, iStock, Getty Images, Veer, Shutterstock, and Clipart.com.