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kyphosis(kīfō`səs): see hunchbackhunchback,
abnormal outward curvature of the spine in the thoracic region. It is also known as kyphosis and humpback, and in its severe form a noticeable hump is evident on the back.
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curvature of the spine in man, with the convexity of the curve posterior.
The entire spine of the newborn is arced (total physiological kyphosis). As the infant develops, physiological kyphosis arises in the thoracic and sacral sections. Kyphosis in the thoracic spine may increase dramatically by old age because of developmental changes in the intervertebral disks and a weakening of muscle tone.
Pathological kyphosis, a result of congenital abnormalities in spine development (additional wedge-shaped vertebrae or the fusion of separate vertebrae), usually appears after the age of six months, once the infant has begun to stand and walk. Kyphosis can result from rickets, spinal tuberculosis, and certain familial conditions. It can also develop in persons who sit bent over for long periods of time because of occupation or myopia. Kyphosis is treated by special gymnastic exercises and by strengthening the back muscles by massage or physical therapy. Surgery may have to be performed if more conservative treatment proves unsuccessful.