Hunchback correction has been considered a myth in society. However, the gods have been applauded for their art of straightening a hunched person from mythological times. Kyphoscoliosis correction is no longer a myth and can be corrected by surgery with highly positive results. Here is a brief overview of the disease and the available options.
Hunchback is a condition where there is a forward rounding of the upper back. It can occur at any age; however, it usually affects older women, termed a dowager's hump. Patients having osteoporosis will develop an age-related hunchback. The other types of hunchback will affect infants and teens. The mild form of hunchback will not cause any problems, but the severe form of hunchback can be very harmful, affecting the lungs, nerves, tissues, and other organs resulting in other medical issues. The treatment plan is done depending upon the age, cause, and effects of the hunchback.
Hunchback occurs when the vertebrae in the upper back region become increasingly wedge-shaped, which can be due to various problems such as:
Cancer and treatment for cancer.
The people who are at an increased risk for developing hunchback are:
Adolescent girls with poor posture.
Boys aged between 10 and 15 have an increased risk of developing Scheuermann's kyphosis.
Older patients have osteoporosis.
Patients with connective tissue disorders (Marfan syndrome).
The milder form of hunchback will not cause any signs and symptoms. The severe forms can cause:
Abnormally curved spine.
Stiffness in the back.
Pain in the back.
Scoliosis is a term used to represent an abnormal, sideways curvature of the spine. A typical spine looks straight when viewed from the back. However, when scoliosis occurs, the spine can curve either in a 'C' way, reverse 'C' way or 'S' way.
Scoliosis can be either idiopathic or degenerative. Idiopathic variety is the most common type and is further classified into infantile, juvenile, and adolescent scoliosis. It may be present in the thoracic, lumbar, or thoracolumbar region. Thoracic scoliosis is the most commonly encountered type of deformity.
There are a few common physical symptoms and signs helpful for the detection of scoliosis. Adam's test is commonly used to check for scoliosis. In this, an individual is made to bend forward, and the physician will observe for the position of the shoulder, rib cage, waist, hip, and the size of the leg. Any abnormality in these may indicate further evaluation of scoliosis by x-rays or other diagnostic methods. Pain is usually not associated with scoliosis, and if encountered, that would require further investigations.
X-rays are used to determine the degree of curvature and the deformities of the vertebrae.
Computerized tomography (CT scan) is done for more detailed images.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is used to rule out any tumor or infection.
Nerve tests are done to know if the patient is experiencing any muscle weakness or numbness.
Lung function tests are done in case of a severe hunchback to check if the curve affects the patient's ability to breathe.
OTC (over-the-counter) pain relievers like Acetaminophen (Tylenol), Naproxen (Aleve), or Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) can be given for pain. If these are not effective, then stronger medications will be prescribed by the doctor.
If the patient has osteoporosis, then drugs such as bone-strengthening drugs will be given for the osteoporosis to prevent fractures of the spine which can further worsen the hunchback. In many patients, the hunchback is the first indication of osteoporosis.
The treatment of scoliosis depends on two factors.
Skeletal maturity of the patient.
The degree of the spinal curve.
Depending on these factors, scoliosis can be corrected by one of the three means; observation, bracing of the back, and surgery. In skeletally immature patients with curves over 25 degrees, a brace may be of help. However, bracing is typically not used for skeletally mature individuals as it does not straighten the curve. Instead, the goal of a brace is to stop the progression of the spinal curve as the child grows.
Two types of back braces are available.
TLSO (Thoracolumbosacral orthosis).
Charleston bending back brace.
TLSO applies three-point pressure, and the patient should wear it for at least 23 hours a day. Charleston brace works on applying more pressure against the curvature and should be worn only at night.
Bracing can also be used in children suffering from Scheuermann's disease to stop the progression of hunchbacks. These children whose bones are still growing can wear a body brace to prevent the hunchback from getting worse.
Exercises such as stretching exercises are helpful to improve the flexibility of the spine. Exercises that can help strengthen the abdominal muscles are also beneficial in improving posture.
Scoliosis surgery for adolescents is recommended only when their curves are greater than 40 degrees. In the posterior approach of scoliosis correction, the muscles are stripped off the spine to allow the surgeon to access the bony elements. The spine is then instrumented (screws are inserted), and rods are placed, which reduces the curvature. Bone is then added, which incites a reaction and potentiated spine fusion. Spinal fusion is where two or more of the affected vertebrae are permanently connected. The fusion process takes around 3 to 6 months and continues for up to 12 months. Thus, correcting hunchbacks is no longer a myth, and the mystery of the mythological back correction stands sorted in today's world. Spinal surgery complications are quite high, including infection, bleeding, pain, arthritis, nerve damage, and disc degeneration. A second surgery may be needed if the primary surgery has failed to fix the problem.
Having a hunchback posture can ultimately lead to health issues that no one wants to have. This condition can eventually lead to spinal damage and an unsightly lump developing in your upper body. And, it can make it challenging to sit and sleep, which in turn can affect your daily well-being. Therefore, correcting it with proper treatment can avoid all these issues.
For more information, consult a specialist online at iCliniq.com.
Last reviewed at:
08 Jun 2021 - 4 min read
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