Our normal cervical spine (back of the neck) curves slightly inward, when viewed from the side. When the curve in the spine becomes abnormal, it is known as cervical kyphosis. A kyphotic curve looks like the letter ‘C’, with the opening of the ‘C’ pointing out towards the front. The larger the abnormal curve, the serious the problem. People with kyphosis may either have a straight looking spine or may develop a hump. Thus, kyphosis is sometimes referred to as hunchback, round back, Scheuermann's disease and postural kyphosis also. While mild cases may not cause severe problems, serious cases can lead to complications in the lungs, nerves, other tissues and organs of the body. When ignored for longer durations, kyphosis can result in loss of height and hindrance with breathing. Read through the following lines to know the causes of cervical kyphosis.
Causes Of Cervical Kyphosis
Degenerative Disc Disease
Degenerative disc disease is a major cause of cervical kyphosis. The discs between each vertebra wear and tear due to aging thereby, causing the discs to collapse. As a result, the head of the person tilts forward and the neck starts bending forward. The weight of the head causes unbalanced forces, thereby pushing the neck further forward. Hence, the normal curve is lost, resulting in cervical kyphosis.
Iatrogenic refers to the after effects of a medical treatment like surgery. Laminectomy surgery is performed to relieve pressure on the spinal cord or spinal nerves. During this surgery, the lamina bone is removed which covers the spinal cord. In some cases, some or all the facet joints are also removed, which causes looseness between the vertebrae removed. Hence, the spine may tilt forward causing cervical kyphosis.
Congenital defect is another cause of cervical kyphosis. This means that a person born with some defect like incomplete formation of the spine has greater chances of developing a kyphosis curve in the neck, when he/she is in the growing years. As a result, congenital kyphosis causes growth disturbance in the vertebrae. The vertebrae eventually grow into a triangular-shape with the thin-end pointing forward.
Cervical kyphosis can also occur due to any injury in the cervical spine. Any compression fracture or an injury to the ligaments in the back of the cervical spine can cause the vertebral body to collapse into the shape of a wedge. As a result, the spine bents forward, causing imbalance in the normal curvature of the neck. In case the condition worsens, kyphosis can even narrow the spinal canal, putting enough pressure on the spinal cord.
Osteoporosis is a bone condition that makes the bones weak and easier to fracture. Eventually, this makes the bones thinner, resulting in excessive vertebral fractures. This causes the spine to compress, thereby causing cervical kyphosis.
Ankylosing spondylitis is a chronic inflammation that affects the sacroiliac joints of the lower back and spine. People with ankylosing spondylitis experience severe aching and stiffness in the spine and around it. A common cause of kyphosis, ankylosing spondylitis can result in the total loss of spine mobility.
People with arthritis suffer from extreme joint inflammation. Since the spine is not capable of moving in its normal manner, arthritis causes instability of the spine. This eventually results in cervical kyphosis.