Cervical Kyphosis

What is Cervical Kyphosis?

Kyphosis term is used in to describe abnormal bending or curving of the spine. Spine is divided into three segments upper, mid and lower spine. The normal bending occurs in spine. The term kyphosis derived from Greek word “kyphos” means a hump. The mostly kyphosis is occurs in thorasic spine which affects cervical (upper) and lumber (lower) spine. Normally it is considered that forward curvature more than 50 degree in the upper spine region can be termed as cervical kyphosis.

cervical kyphosis picture

Image 1 – Cervical Kyphosis (Observe spine curvature)

Cervical Kyphosis Symptoms

The symptoms are ranged from mild to severe depending upon the underlying cause.

  • The affected person bending in forward direction
  • Pain intensity varies from mild to moderate
  • Height shrinkage
  • Problem in standing in erect position for long time
  • Lethargy

Cervical Kyphosis Causes

Cervical kyphosis can developed for the following causes

Complication due to surgery

Complication occurs due to surgery is termed as Latrogenic. Usually onset of kyphosis occurs after laminectomy surgery. Laminectomy is the surgical intervention conducted on the spine bones or nerves. During procedure, removal of lamina (the covering of spine) causes loosing of the vertebral articulation that may cause cervical kyphosis.

Cervical fusion surgery is also creates complication of the same. In this condition the cervical region is tilted and cause curvature. Similar problem arises if the wound healing is not fast after surgery.

Degenerative Disc ailment

With increasing of the age collapse disc is a common problem. This may cause head to tilt in forward direction and which leads to neck also tilted on the forward direction.

Birth deformity

Cervical khyphosis, can occur also due to birth defect or cangenital defect. A child born with incomplete development of the spine may leads to cervical kyphosis. This restricts the growth of the spinal cord of the affected child. Usually child with cervical kyphosis also has defects in renal system or urinary system.

Accidental injury

Any accidental injury which directly affect the neck which can associated with vertebral compression or collapse of spine is cause kyphosis.

Other related causes

Other causes which lead to cervical kyphosis are tumour in spinal cord. Ankylosing spondylitis causes systemic infection and affect spinal cord.  Malignant cell growth in neck treated with radiation therapy may also develop cervical kyphosis.

Cervical Kyphosis Diagnosis

For diagnosis, through knowledge of medical history with knowing of family history are first important criteria.

  • Physical examination in sitting and standing posture with close observation of curving of the neck bending is another diagnostic approach.
  • The flexibility, strength, sensation and reflex action of the muscles of arm and legs are very important.
  • X-ray of spinal cord is important to take the image.
  • MRI is also conducted in case of severe symptoms.
  • Lung function test and cardiovascular tests may require if addition symptoms like shortness of breathing, chest pain occur.

Cervical Kyphosis Treatment

The chance of further complications associated with cervical khyphosis is negligible, in mild cases no medical treatment is required. Usually physical therapy and analgesic and anti-inflammatory drugs are prescribed to reduce the symptom and strengthen the muscle.

Sometime doctors also recommend to wearing of brace. The usual curving recommended for bracing is 45 degree and follow up is taken by X-ray images.

Surgery is recommended in some cases. The surgery is conducted for partial correction of the deformity, pain removal and improvement of spinal alignment. Usually the surgery is recommended when the curvature is 75 degree with uncontrollable pain, cardiac or pulmonary complications and neurological deformities. Congenital kyphosis can be corrected by surgical intervention at the early childhood.  The satisfaction level is high in early diagnosis and intervention.

Kyphoplasty also helps to correct the painful disintegration of spine. In this process balloon filled with methymethacrylate is introduce into the affected vertebra. Methymethacrylate is a liquid medicament which helps to consolidate to repair the spinal height. If anybody is not want to conduct surgical intervention, then this is a last option for non-invasive treatment, if other treatments do not provide relief.

Pictures of Cervical Kyphosis

cervical kyphosis x ray

Image 2 – X -ray of cervical kyphosis (lateral View of neck)

cervical kyphosis image

Image 3

cervical kyphosis vs cervical lordosis

Image 4 – Cervical lordosis Vs Cervical Kyphosis (Angles)


  1. http://www.spine-health.com/conditions/spinal-deformities/all-about-thoracic-kyphosis-forward-curvature-upper-back
  2. http://www.medicinenet.com/kyphosis/page3.htm
  3. http://www.centerforneuroandspine.com/conditions/spine-conditions/cervical-spine-conditions/cervical-kyphosis/default.aspx
  4. http://umm.edu/programs/spine/health/guides/cervical-kyphosis
  5. http://www.allaboutbackandneckpain.com/understandingconditions/kyphosis.asp

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