GUSTOIMAGES / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY GUSTOIMAGES / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Curved spine. Coloured frontal X-ray of a female patient with kyphosis (curvature of the spine, red) in her upper back. Kyphosis usually causes a humped or bowed upper back, sometimes resulting in collapsed vertebrae (back bones). It can be caused by a variety of spinal disorders, including cancer, fractures, osteoporosis, ankylosing spondylitis and osteochondritis. It can also be caused by a birth defect (congenital deformity) or through incorrect posture. Treatment for kyphosis may include physiotherapy, bracing and osteotomy (cutting and realigning bone). Severe cases may need surgery to insert a metal support in the spine to keep it in the correct position.
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