How is Kyphosis Diagnosed?


Kyphosis is often first noticed during a scoliosis screening at a child’s school. Other times, a parent notices a curve in their child’s spine, or an adolescent or adult notices a curve in their own spine. A natural spinal curve between 20 and 45 degrees is normal. Kyphosis is present if the curve is greater than 50 degrees.
A doctor can perform a physical exam and other tests to confirm a kyphosis diagnosis. These tests may include:

  • X-ray: an x-ray can provide an image of the spine that reveals any curvature
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): an MRI can show if there is a tumor or infection in the spine causing curvature

How is Kyphosis Treated?


Your provider will decide if kyphosis treatment is necessary based on several factors, including your age, the type and cause of the kyphosis, the severity of the condition, and your medical history.

Nonsurgical treatments

Your doctor may choose to monitor the curvature of the spine over time and determine if further treatment is necessary. They may also suggest physical therapy to strengthen the abdominal and back muscles, which can help improve posture and relieve pain in the back. A back brace may be necessary in severe cases. Your provider may also prescribe pain medication if you are experiencing back pain due to kyphosis.

Surgical treatments

If kyphosis is so severe that it interferes with daily life or causing significant pain, your doctor may recommend surgery. The most common surgery for kyphosis, spinal fusion surgery, involves lining up the vertebrae in the correct position and fusing them to prevent the curve from returning.

Can kyphosis be reversed?

Postural kyphosis can be corrected by improving your posture. The treatment goal with other types of kyphosis is usually to prevent the curvature from worsening rather than reversing it. Kyphosis may be corrected with surgical intervention.

Get Care

Trust NewYork-Presbyterian for Kyphosis Treatment

Early detection of kyphosis is important for successful treatment. The spine experts at NewYork-Presbyterian can identify kyphosis and determine the next steps in an efficient manner, giving you the best opportunity to stop the condition from worsening. Call today to make an appointment.