Treatments and drugs

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Kyphosis treatment depends on the cause of the condition and the signs and symptoms that are present.

Medications

Your doctor may suggest:

  • Pain relievers. If over-the-counter medicines, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol, others), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others) or naproxen (Aleve) aren't enough, stronger pain medications are available by prescription.
  • Osteoporosis drugs. In many people, kyphosis is the first clue that they have osteoporosis. Bone-strengthening drugs may help prevent additional spinal fractures that would cause your kyphosis to worsen.

Therapy

Some types of kyphosis can be helped by:

  • Exercises. Stretching exercises can improve spinal flexibility. Exercises that strengthen the abdominal muscles may help improve posture.
  • Bracing. Children who have Scheuermann's disease may be able to stop the progression of kyphosis by wearing a body brace while their bones are still growing.

Surgical and other procedures

If the kyphosis curve is very severe, particularly if the curve is pinching the spinal cord or nerve roots, your doctor might suggest surgery to reduce the degree of curvature.

The most common procedure, called spinal fusion, connects two or more of the affected vertebrae permanently. Surgeons insert bits of bone between the vertebrae and then fasten the vertebrae together with metal wires, plates and screws.

The complication rate for spinal surgery is relatively high. Complications include bleeding, infection, pain, nerve damage, arthritis and disk degeneration. If the surgery fails to correct the problem, a second surgery may be needed.

Jun. 14, 2012