Kyphosis is a curving of the spine that causes a bowing of the back, which leads to a hunchback or slouching posture. Kyphosis is a spinal deformity that can result from trauma, developmental problems, or degenerative disease. Kyphosis can occur at any age, although it is rare at birth.
Adolescent kyphosis, also known as Scheuermann's disease, results from the wedging together of several consecutive vertebrae (bones of the spine). The cause of Scheuermann's disease is unknown.
In adults, kyphosis can be a result of osteoporotic compression fractures (fractures caused by osteoporosis), degenerative disease (such as arthritis), or spondylolisthesis (slipping of one vertebra forward on another).
Treatment for other types of kyphosis depends on the cause. Surgery may be necessary if neurological symptoms develop.