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Difference between Kyphosis and Scoliosis

I went to a GP about 3 weeks ago because I was concerned with the shape of my back and spine and was having back pain. He told me I had "mild scoiliosis " and a "muscle imbalance". I gave up waiting on the NHS, and got a Private referral. On the letter however, it says "kyphosis". What is the difference? People in my family have got scoliosis so its hereditary? Thanks
Original post by Anonymous
I went to a GP about 3 weeks ago because I was concerned with the shape of my back and spine and was having back pain. He told me I had "mild scoiliosis " and a "muscle imbalance". I gave up waiting on the NHS, and got a Private referral. On the letter however, it says "kyphosis". What is the difference? People in my family have got scoliosis so its hereditary? Thanks


To my knowledge, scoliosis is a curvature of the spine that can be seen from behind, so the curve will move away from the midline of the back to a side, and kyphosis affects the upper spine in a way that might make the person look like they're leaning forwards - so the curve kind of being in a different direction if that makes sense. I could be totally wrong though, but the doctor you're being referred to will be able to tell you what's happening with your spine
Reply 2
Original post by chelseadagg3r
To my knowledge, scoliosis is a curvature of the spine that can be seen from behind, so the curve will move away from the midline of the back to a side, and kyphosis affects the upper spine in a way that might make the person look like they're leaning forwards - so the curve kind of being in a different direction if that makes sense. I could be totally wrong though, but the doctor you're being referred to will be able to tell you what's happening with your spine



Mine looks a bit like both. It is quite visibly curved ,with rounded shoulders, head forward, but my shoulderblades and back muscles aren't even and the spine curves to the right slightly
Reply 3
I had spinal fusion surgery last year to correct my scoliosis and kyphosis.
Scoliosis is a sideways curve of the spine where as kyphosis is a forward curve of the upper (thoracic) spine which can make you appear hunched over.
Scoliosis can usually only be seen in xrays taken from the front or the back and kyphosis can only be seen from sideways xrays.
Reply 4
Original post by Lucyy26
I had spinal fusion surgery last year to correct my scoliosis and kyphosis.
Scoliosis is a sideways curve of the spine where as kyphosis is a forward curve of the upper (thoracic) spine which can make you appear hunched over.
Scoliosis can usually only be seen in xrays taken from the front or the back and kyphosis can only be seen from sideways xrays.


Can you have both? I have a lot of pain in the lower back/small of back and the shoulderblade area. It is visibly pretty curved. I'm 15. Is pain a scoliosis or kyphosis thing?
Reply 5
You can have both, yes. And both can cause pain.
Reply 6
Think its also worth mentioning that my back also clicks as do my legs. i get some leg pain too. should i stop exercise at gym/running if that may be doing more damage? it's really painful to bend down or lift anything
Reply 7
Original post by Anonymous
Think its also worth mentioning that my back also clicks as do my legs. i get some leg pain too. should i stop exercise at gym/running if that may be doing more damage? it's really painful to bend down or lift anything


If they've not already referred you to physiotherapy, that might be beneficial. Might be worth seeing a rheumatologist to rule out other conditions that kyphoscoliosis/kyphosis/scoliosis can be a part of (like connective tissue disorders) especially because you have other family members with similar issues.
Reply 8
Original post by Anonymous
Can you have both? I have a lot of pain in the lower back/small of back and the shoulderblade area. It is visibly pretty curved. I'm 15. Is pain a scoliosis or kyphosis thing?


Yes you can have both. I also had lordosis which is an inward curve of the lower spine (which was a compensation for my kyphosis to try make my body balanced). Pain is very common in people with spinal conditions, I'm 17 now but had a lot of pain before I got my surgery to fix it when I was 16.
Reply 9
Original post by Pathway
If they've not already referred you to physiotherapy, that might be beneficial. Might be worth seeing a rheumatologist to rule out other conditions that kyphoscoliosis/kyphosis/scoliosis can be a part of (like connective tissue disorders) especially because you have other family members with similar issues.


I was referred to physiotherapy orthopedics got a private referral to the equivalent department
Original post by Lucyy26
Yes you can have both. I also had lordosis which is an inward curve of the lower spine (which was a compensation for my kyphosis to try make my body balanced). Pain is very common in people with spinal conditions, I'm 17 now but had a lot of pain before I got my surgery to fix it when I was 16.


Did you have pain in your legs too? Also seem to get some round my hips. Definitely got worse.
20180913_221757-compressed.jpg.jpeg 20180913_221837-compressed.jpg.jpeg that's what my back looks like
Original post by qwertyK
Did you have pain in your legs too? Also seem to get some round my hips. Definitely got worse.
20180913_221757-compressed.jpg.jpeg 20180913_221837-compressed.jpg.jpeg that's what my back looks like


I didn't really have pain in my legs but I know of others with scoliosis who do. I did get pain in my hips and they click and sometimes sublax but my pain has eased off since surgery. Physio is a good way to deal with pain and try to manage the curves so ithey dont get much worse.
From your pictures you can defo see the curves, especially the kyphosis curve from the side, thats exactly what my back looked like.
If you have any other questions or concerns I'm happy to help!
Original post by Lucyy26
I didn't really have pain in my legs but I know of others with scoliosis who do. I did get pain in my hips and they click and sometimes sublax but my pain has eased off since surgery. Physio is a good way to deal with pain and try to manage the curves so ithey dont get much worse.
From your pictures you can defo see the curves, especially the kyphosis curve from the side, thats exactly what my back looked like.
If you have any other questions or concerns I'm happy to help!


Wow, surgery? I know it sometimes happens but doesn't the angle of curvature have to be more than 45 degrees?
Original post by Anonymous
Wow, surgery? I know it sometimes happens but doesn't the angle of curvature have to be more than 45 degrees?


Yeah unfortuantely my curve was really bad, it was 82 degrees so my surgeon recommened I get spinal fusion.
Original post by Lucyy26
Yeah unfortuantely my curve was really bad, it was 82 degrees so my surgeon recommened I get spinal fusion.


Based on that picture, how bad do you think mine is? (less than or more than 45). Wondering if i might need a back brace
Original post by Anonymous
Based on that picture, how bad do you think mine is? (less than or more than 45). Wondering if i might need a back brace


Im not a doctor so I don't know but I think people only get braces if they are still growing to try and stop the progression. I was 15 when I was diagnosed and I was too old for a brace and my doctor thought I had stopped growing but it just depends on each perosn.

When I was 15 my kyphosis curve was 62 degrees and my scoliosis was really mild but the I had a massive growth spurt which was unexpected so my kyphosis reached 77 degrees and my scoliosis got to about 21 degrees. Scoliosis at that degree wouldn't require surgery but kyphosis over 75 degrees usually does so thats when my surgeon told me surgery was probably best. Then I got more xrays the day before surgey and it had deteriorated to 82 degrees.

When are your next xrays? Ask then what your degrees are because I woulnd't want to give you my guess and then for it to be way off. But Ican defo see that you have scoliosis and kyphosis.
Original post by Lucyy26
Im not a doctor so I don't know but I think people only get braces if they are still growing to try and stop the progression. I was 15 when I was diagnosed and I was too old for a brace and my doctor thought I had stopped growing but it just depends on each perosn.

When I was 15 my kyphosis curve was 62 degrees and my scoliosis was really mild but the I had a massive growth spurt which was unexpected so my kyphosis reached 77 degrees and my scoliosis got to about 21 degrees. Scoliosis at that degree wouldn't require surgery but kyphosis over 75 degrees usually does so thats when my surgeon told me surgery was probably best. Then I got more xrays the day before surgey and it had deteriorated to 82 degrees.

When are your next xrays? Ask then what your degrees are because I woulnd't want to give you my guess and then for it to be way off. But Ican defo see that you have scoliosis and kyphosis.


Well I'm having my first actual appointment for it after getting a private referall. I'm not sure if I've stopped growing or not. I guess I started to notice it around October last year. I'm tall at six foot two, hope i've done growing, will the doctors be able to tell like you said? I noticed the actual curve last year but i've only started to get actual pain recently. it's really frustrating because i can't go to the gym or run because i'm not sure if the gym has made it worse
Original post by Anonymous
Well I'm having my first actual appointment for it after getting a private referall. I'm not sure if I've stopped growing or not. I guess I started to notice it around October last year. I'm tall at six foot two, hope i've done growing, will the doctors be able to tell like you said? I noticed the actual curve last year but i've only started to get actual pain recently. it's really frustrating because i can't go to the gym or run because i'm not sure if the gym has made it worse


Doctors can use xrays to tell if you have stopped growing by your hip growth plates using the rissor scale. Ask them about it at your appointment because mine didn't until I asked them. I don't think going to the gym will make it worse. Although it could cause a muscular imbalance which wouldn't help but I'm not sure.
Hi im new to this site. I'm 59 and have a bad curvature of the spine .My last operation I had was when I was 13 .It was to take some ribs out to try get rid of the lump but it was too risky so they had to abort the op. I have a Harrington rod top to bottom of my spine.Do any of you have the same issues.

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