Complications of kyphosis 

Kyphosis can sometimes cause psychological complications related to body image or physical complications such as nerve problems or loss of bladder or bowel control.

Body image

Older children with kyphosis may become self-conscious and embarrassed about the effect of kyphosis on their appearance and body image, or the fact that they have to wear a back brace. Anything that makes them 'stand out from the crowd' can be an issue of concern.

This can affect children in different ways and some children may:

  • become socially withdrawn
  • be reluctant to take part in activities that may expose their back or the fact they have to wear a brace
  • become moody
  • be reluctant to discuss issues surrounding their treatment, or argue that they don't need any more treatment

There are no easy answers to these problems, but it can sometimes help to reassure your child that their feelings will improve with time.

Physical complications

Other complications of kyphosis usually only occur in more severe cases. They include:

  • persistent pain that can't be controlled with medication
  • breathing difficulties caused by the spine compressing the lungs and airways

Occasionally, people with kyphosis can have difficulties when the nerves running through the spine become compressed or pinched. This can disrupt nerve signals and cause symptoms such as:

These serious complications require urgent medical attention and surgery would usually be recommended.

Read more about the surgical treatment of kyphosis.


Page last reviewed: 19/09/2015

Next review due: 31/07/2018