A Definitive Guide to Common Causes of Kyphosis

Kyphosis is a condition that results in an abnormal curvature of the spine. This can cause pain and discomfort and make it difficult to breathe and move around. Kyphosis can be caused by various factors, including genetics, injuries, and health conditions. Consider seeking help from an orthopedic surgeon, as you’ll get guidance on what is causing the disease. Book an appointment with Dr. Patrick S. McNulty. Let’s look at some of the most common causes of kyphosis.

Compression Fractures

A compression fracture (also called a vertebral fracture) is when a break in one or more bones makes up the spine. The most common symptoms of this condition include pain and difficulty breathing. It can result from osteoporosis, which causes thinning and weakening of the bone. The decrease in bone density (thickness) weakens the bone, making it more likely to break.

Osteoporosis Fractures

Osteoporosis is commonly caused by heredity (genetics). Symptoms of osteoporosis can include pain in one or both legs, loss of height, and fractures that happen without falling or trauma (such as compression fractures). Osteoporosis is a common cause of compression fractures, but other conditions or diseases can also cause it. 

For example, Paget’s disease causes an abnormal buildup of bone in one area, causing pressure on surrounding bones. Other causes of a compression fracture include osteonecrosis, which is the death of the bone tissue due to lack of blood flow. This can result from certain infections or conditions affecting the blood vessels, including diabetes and high blood pressure.

Disc Degeneration and Narrowing

Degeneration of the discs (soft, gel-like cushions that separate each vertebra) is a common cause of pain and kyphosis. It can also lead to spinal stenosis when there is not enough space in the spinal canal. It causes pressure on the spinal cord and nerves. 

Other problems associated with degeneration of the discs include nerve damage and even paralysis. Degeneration can be caused by several factors, including age, injury, obesity, and genetics.


Injuries to the muscles, bones, or joints can lead to abnormal posture and curvature of the spine. Some examples include broken ribs from a car accident or falls from a ladder. In these cases, the curvature can result from muscle spasms due to the injury. Other injuries that can cause kyphosis include slipped discs and fractures from osteoporosis or back injuries.


Certain bone infections, such as tuberculosis and osteomyelitis, can weaken the bones, causing kyphosis. These are both caused by bacteria that affect the spine and increase vulnerability to osteoporosis. Other infections, such as Lyme disease, cysticercosis, and meningitis, can cause abnormal spine curvature.

Scheuermann’s Disease

Scheuermann’s disease is a type of kyphosis that occurs when the vertebrae grow unevenly. It results in a curving of the spine, which can be severe and painful. It typically affects adolescents between 11 and 16, but it can also develop later in life. The cause of Scheuermann’s disease is unknown, but it is more common in males and people who are taller.

Kyphosis is a condition that arises from various factors, including genetics, injuries, and health conditions. Compression fractures are when there is a break in one or more bones making up the spine due to osteoporosis, which causes thinning and weakening bone density (thickness), leading to compression fractures being more likely to happen. Osteoporotic fracture often occurs without trauma, such as falls. An orthopedic surgeon is an ultimate solution for kyphosis; hence book an appointment with one.