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 IB, others) or naproxen (Aleve) — aren't enough, stronger pain medications are available by prescription.
  • Osteoporosis drugs. In many older 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 and relieve back pain. 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.
  • Healthy lifestyle. Maintaining a healthy body weight and regular physical activity will help prevent back pain and relieve back symptoms from kyphosis.
  • Maintaining good bone density. Proper diet with calcium and vitamin D and screening for low bone density, particularly if there is a family history of osteoporosis or history of previous fracture, may help older adults avoid weak bones, compression fractures and subsequent kyphosis.

Surgical and other procedures

If the kyphosis curve is very severe or 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 pieces of bone between the vertebrae and then fasten the vertebrae together with metal rods and screws until the spine heals together in a corrected position.

Jun. 05, 2014

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