In some people, the cause is not known. The three main types and their causes are:

  • Postural—caused by poor posture
  • Congenital—present at birth, often with other spinal problems
  • Scheuermann—a type that is genetic and appears during the teen years

Risk Factors

Scheuermann hyperkyphosis is more common in teenage boys.

Things that may raise the risk of hyperkyphosis are:

  • Poor posture
  • Problems that weaken the bones, such as osteoporosis
  • Having other family members with spinal problems
  • Nueromuscular problems, such as cerebral palsy
  • Trauma to the spine
  • Spinal infections



Problems may be:

  • Back pain or stiffness
  • Extreme rounding of the shoulders
  • A head that bends forward compared to the rest of the body
  • Differences in shoulder height
  • Fatigue


This problem may be diagnosed during a routine exam or spinal check at school.

In others, the doctor will ask about symptoms and past health. A physical exam will be done. It will focus on the spine. This is often enough to make the diagnosis.

Pictures of the spine may be taken. This can be done with:

  • X-ray
  • MRI scan
  • CT scan



Any underlying causes will need to be treated.

A mild curve may not need treatment. It will be watched for any changes over time.

In others, the goal of treatment is to manage symptoms and stop the curve from getting worse. Choices are:

  • Over the counter medicine to ease pain
  • Physical therapy to learn exercises that improve posture and ease back pain
  • A back brace to keep the spine in line

Surgery may be needed in people with severe symptoms and those who are not helped by other methods. The goal of surgery is to correct the curve. This is done with a metal rod, hooks, or screws.


There are no known guidelines to prevent hyperkyphosis.

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.

Edits to original content made by Denver Health.