What are the nonsurgical treatments for kyphosis?

Updated: May 04, 2020
  • Author: R Carter Cassidy, MD; Chief Editor: Jeffrey A Goldstein, MD  more...
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Medical therapy for kyphosis consists of exercise, medication, and bracing. [39]  Physical therapy, which usually consists of extension-focused activities, may be of some benefit; however, this has not been proved. [37, 40]

Medications used to treat discomfort associated with kyphosis should be limited to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and, possibly, muscle relaxants. Narcotics should be avoided for long-term treatment of pain associated with kyphosis.

If a patient has an active infection, such as diskitis or vertebral osteomyelitis, appropriate antibiotics based on culture results should be started as soon as possible.

In some skeletally immature patients with Scheuermann kyphosis, bracing is effective [41] ; however, the correction obtained may diminish as patients approach and pass skeletal maturity.

Sachs et al found that treatment with a Milwaukee brace improved deformity in 76 of 120 (63%) patients who wore the brace regularly; brace treatment seemed to be least effective when the curve was more than 74° at the beginning of treatment. [42]  Bradford et al reported modest success in treating adults with a brace, with some correction of their deformities. [17]

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