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Thread: I am concerned. Do I have kyphosis?

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    Default I am concerned. Do I have kyphosis?

    This is my first post in the forum. I have been reading a lot of posts from the other people here though. I must say I am concerned that I might have kyphosis. Could someone please help me verify this? I have a profile picture. The angle between the red lines I measured as 48 degrees.



    Sorry if my concern seems out of place, but I appreciate any help.

    Thanks!

    Thomas

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    Default Re: I am concerned. Do I have kyphosis?

    Hi Tom, welcome to SSO

    I don't really know too much about kyphosis, but it looks like if you do have it, it's relatively minor. Normal kyphosis is classed as being between 20 and 40 degrees, so it might be worth seeing a specialist who can measure your curve properly (I'm not sure you've done it right there, as you may have chosen the wrong points to measure from - it's difficult without an x-ray!).

    What are your concerns - are you getting pain, or are you worried that it will progress as you get older? Cosmetically I think you look great, so please don't stress about that

    Welcome again!

    Toni xx
    37 years old, diagnosed with infantile idiopathic scoliosis at 6 months old with curves of 62(T) and 40(L) degrees. Casting and Milwaukee braces until surgery at 10 - ant release/pos fusion T1-T12, halo traction. Post op cast and then TLSO. Further surgery at 18 (ant release/pos fusion extended to L3 to include lumbar curve, costoplasty) and 25 (another costoplasty). Fusion extended to L4 at 33 (XLIF with 4 pedicle screws and two short rods). Pre-op curves: 76(T) and 70(L). Post-op curves: 45(T) and 35(L). Diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome aged 34; scoliosis almost certainly due to this rather than being idiopathic.

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    Default Re: I am concerned. Do I have kyphosis?

    Hi Toni,

    Thank you very much for your warm welcome! It is very appreciated from a human perspective, as dealing with these sort of things can be difficult. Let me give you a little perspective...

    I am 36 years old, and I am afraid that I have never had good posture. I was always lazy and used to sit wrong, stand wrong, and never participated in sports. I can't say that I have too much pain, but unfortunately I have some other issues which make this a big deal for me. I basically have a serious case of OCD, and it manifests itself in different ways. One of them is that I routinely worry about things to the extreme that it becomes almost impossible to carry on a normal life. I worry about many things, but the most consuming have always be either my health or the way I look. I always was a little self-conscious about my posture (I perceived everybody else as having a straighter back than I did, so to speak.)

    I almost feel like an idiot sharing my problems with you because I know that most of you guys have objectively much more serious issues (and by the way I am impressed by the courage with which you confront them.) Unfortunately when you have OCD you create your own hell, and force yourself to live in it constantly.

    However, I have objective reasons to be concerned. My grandmother, for example, suffers from serious kyphosis which has been aggravating throughout the years. I believe my grandfather did too, and so I believe that I must have some sort of genetic predisposition to get it.

    Regardless, I should actually go to the doctor and have me refer to an osteopath (I believe that's the technical name of the specialists which deal with the spine) to get some tests done.

    Again, I honestly appreciate your warm welcome and your kind words, Toni. I apologize also to everyone else if my concerns seem unfounded or out of place.

    I have one question, if you don't mind. I read that there is a diagnostic procedure that consists in having the person bend forward by the waist, and noting the curvature of the spine. Does that require just bending forward on a 90 degree angle, or is it necessary to bend down as far as you will go and attempt to touch your toes?

    Warm regards,

    Tom

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    Default Re: I am concerned. Do I have kyphosis?

    Hi Tom,

    Please don't worry, you have concerns and have every right to be here and ask for support! There's no reason to feel like an idiot, the size of your curve doesn't matter; if you have worries, we will do our best to help

    The forwards bending test you describe is called the Adams Forward Bend Test, but it's mainly used to detect scoliosis. Abnormal kyphosis can usually be seen in everyday life when someone stands up, but scoliosis can hide itself and the curves and rotation of the spine are sometimes only apparent when the person bends forward.

    True (Strutural) Kyphosis cannot be caused by slouching or bad posture, so please don't blame yourself for that. The most common form of kyphosis, Sheuermann's Disease, is caused by wedge-shaped vertebrae. Structural Kyphosis is defined as a curve which can't be changed by you changing posture, and doesn't go away even if you bend backwards.

    It could be possible that you have Postural Kyphosis instead, which is a curve that *can* be improved by making a concious effort to sit straighter. If this is the case, then physio could help you to train your muscles to hold your spine in place.

    You mention your grandparents both having kyphosis. Did your gran always have it, or did it become apparent as she aged? Many women develop a kyphotic "dowager's hump" (horrid phrase sorry) as they age, due to osteoporosis. If this is the case with your gran then please don't worry so much. It's interesting that your grandfather also had kyphosis though, and I think that when you see a specialist, you should mention your grandparents to him.

    The type of specialist you should ask to see is an Orthopaedic spinal specialist, not an osteopath Osteopaths might be able to help with pain and posture, but to get tests done and get a formal diagnosis, you must see an Orthopaedic specialist.

    Hope this helps!

    Toni xxx
    37 years old, diagnosed with infantile idiopathic scoliosis at 6 months old with curves of 62(T) and 40(L) degrees. Casting and Milwaukee braces until surgery at 10 - ant release/pos fusion T1-T12, halo traction. Post op cast and then TLSO. Further surgery at 18 (ant release/pos fusion extended to L3 to include lumbar curve, costoplasty) and 25 (another costoplasty). Fusion extended to L4 at 33 (XLIF with 4 pedicle screws and two short rods). Pre-op curves: 76(T) and 70(L). Post-op curves: 45(T) and 35(L). Diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome aged 34; scoliosis almost certainly due to this rather than being idiopathic.

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    Default Re: I am concerned. Do I have kyphosis?

    Hi Toni,

    Thank you very much for being so understanding.

    I really don't know the extent or the source of my issues, although it seems that they are not of an extreme nature. One thing that I have noticed is that I can force my spine to be less curved with some effort, but I don't know how significant that is, because I am not sure the reduction that I can achieve is too much.

    All this has been something which has always been in the back of my mind however, although unfortunately I never did anything about it. That will change, and I will talk to my general doctor to have me refer to an Orthopaedic spinal specialist (thank you very much for letting me know that is exactly the type of doctor I should see, I would have been clueless otherwise. )

    My grandmother never had stellar posture (I believe,) but I think that she only started getting a more noticeable upper back curvature around her 70s, so I bet you are right and her problems are due to osteoporosis. And, actually, now that I think about it, I believe my grandfather had scoliosis rather than kyphosis. So perhaps I'm worrying myself for no good reason.

    In any case, I will definitely go to the doctor and get my back checked out. I really appreciate your patience and your honest help. You have been very kind, thanks again! I will let you know what the doctor thinks.

    Take care,

    Tom

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    Default Re: I am concerned. Do I have kyphosis?

    Good luck Tom! Please do stick around and let us know how you get on We're always here to help, though most of the forum are based in the UK/Europe so it might seem a bit quiet when you're online. It's almost 4am here - I'm not sleepy, for some reason! I'm glad I was around to chat to you though

    Take care,

    Toni xx
    37 years old, diagnosed with infantile idiopathic scoliosis at 6 months old with curves of 62(T) and 40(L) degrees. Casting and Milwaukee braces until surgery at 10 - ant release/pos fusion T1-T12, halo traction. Post op cast and then TLSO. Further surgery at 18 (ant release/pos fusion extended to L3 to include lumbar curve, costoplasty) and 25 (another costoplasty). Fusion extended to L4 at 33 (XLIF with 4 pedicle screws and two short rods). Pre-op curves: 76(T) and 70(L). Post-op curves: 45(T) and 35(L). Diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome aged 34; scoliosis almost certainly due to this rather than being idiopathic.

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    Default Re: I am concerned. Do I have kyphosis?

    Thanks Toni!

    I didn't know most of the people in the forum were based in the UK (and Europe.)

    4 am? I hope you get some sleep!

    I'll follow up when I know what's going on.

    Take care,

    Tom

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    Default Re: I am concerned. Do I have kyphosis?

    Hi Tom, just wanted to chip in and welcome you to SSO

    Toni has got everything covered so I don't have much to add, except to say that I agree with her perception of your posture - you look great and if there is any kyphosis it looks to be well within normal limits so I wouldn't worry too much I'm sure that's easier said than done and I'm not trying to belittle your feelings or the effects of your OCD.

    I don't think there would be any harm in getting checked out, in fact it would go a long way to putting your mind at rest and would therefore be a very positive step for you. Please don't feel that your problems are any less than anyone else's. We all have our own issues and this site is here to support anyone who needs it,as best we can.

    Good luck and please keep in touch
    Me, a Mod? Nah ... I'll always be a rocker

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    Default Re: I am concerned. Do I have kyphosis?

    Hi Gilly,

    Thanks for the welcome and for taking the time to respond! It is quite reassuring to hear that you also think the problem isn't serious.

    I have to say you (like Toni) have been very kind and understanding. I am very grateful to you for that.

    At the moment I don't have medical insurance, but I should within the next couple of months, and once I do I will go to the doctor and have this looked at. I will come back to the forum and let you know how it went.

    A question... do you have socialized medicine in the U.K.? I'm just wondering because you hear about it in the media here. At the moment, it is difficult/expensive to get health insurance in the U.S. if you get laid off (like it happened to me.) Someone is trying to change that now though.

    Take care, and thanks again!

  10. #10
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    Default Re: I am concerned. Do I have kyphosis?

    Your back looks normal to me and that's not how you measure kyphosis (cobb) angle..

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    Default Re: I am concerned. Do I have kyphosis?

    Hi Ponkopalin,

    Thank you very much for responding. It's interesting, because when I was investigating in the forum I looked at some of the pictures from other people, and I remember thinking that my back looks quite similar to your back. I understand what you say about Cobb's angle not being measured that way. I was just using some sort of visual estimation, for lack of an X-Ray.

    I saw in one of your posts that you had been diagnosed with a 50 degree kyphosis (which is mild if I understand correctly.) Has your doctor prescribed some exercises for your back, and do you expect to correct your kyphosis to any extent via exercises?

    Best wishes to you,

    Tom

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    Default Re: I am concerned. Do I have kyphosis?

    Hi welcome to the site Tom, like Gilly and Toni have said you don't like you have too large a curve

    Rougly the standards go like this 20 - 40 degrees normal

    40 - 60 or 70 observations, bracing if young enough, physio

    70 + surgeon dependant surgery

    Those are very rough figures and it does really depend on you surgeon. Get yourself checked out by a kypho/scoli specialist

    once again welcome, you seem like a right nice fella, i hope we have been some help
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    Default Re: I am concerned. Do I have kyphosis?

    Hi Mark,

    Thanks for the welcome! It has been a very positive experience for me to be here. Everyone has been very understanding and helpful, and I am quite impressed really.

    What you say is reassuring. I honestly think I probably have a mild (or borderline) case of kyphosis. It was reading the different threads here that brought some sort of focused awareness for me into this issue, which means that now I intend to have it checked by a doctor and actually see what needs to be done, as opposed to continue worrying about it without doing any thing to solve the problem (if there is one.)

    I will follow up with you and everyone else in the forum when I have news.

    Take care,

    Tom

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    Default Re: I am concerned. Do I have kyphosis?

    Hello, I have later been diagnosed with 45 degrees from x-rays, though I don't know how accurate that is, since they were taken when I was lying down and as far as I know, that's not the proper way to do it.

    As I see it your back looks fine to me and if you don't have any pain, I wouldn't worry about it. Even if you had some kyphosis I doubt anyone would notice it and as I found out, people don't usually take that much interest in how you look.
    I mean, we are usually much harder on ourselves than other people are. Be confident and don't put yourself down... at least that's what I'm trying to do.

    Exercise... From what I know, if your kyphosis is structural, exercise won't have an effect in correcting it. I don't know much about this, but I think some stretching exercises might help with postural kyphosis. I think postural kyphosis is defined by a kyphotic deformity that can be corrected with proper posture.. I was told my back only corrects "halfway through," or something like that. I will probably be doing some sort of physio next month, as I don't want to do it now, because it's exam period at the university and I'm also lazy. If it doesn't help, the doctor said he is going to do an MRI.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: I am concerned. Do I have kyphosis?

    And in my opinion your back looks fine and you don't seem to have a forward head posture. Oh and I'm also a worrier and a neurotic person .

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