Treatment Options

At the OHSU Spine Center we offer a full range of treatment options for kyphosis, from physical therapy and exercise to surgical treatment. We treat kyphosis conservatively (without surgery) before considering surgery. The right treatment for you depends on:

  • How severe your symptoms are
  • How long you have had symptoms
  • How far your spine curves forward
  • Whether your pain gets better with medication

Pre-Treatment Plan

At your first appointment, your doctor will have reviewed your comprehensive health questionnaire. Your answers give the doctor  detailed information about your pain and ability to function. This will help determine how serious your symptoms are and what treatments will be most helpful.  

Whether you have conservative (non-surgical) treatment or surgery for kyphosis depends on several factors:

  • Your age, health and medical history
  • How severe your kyphosis is
  • How well specific medications and treatments work for you
  • Whether your doctor expects the kyphosis to get worse or better, and how fast
  • Your opinion or preference

The goal of treatment is to stop the spine from curving forward and prevent deformity (a severe, permanent curve).

Conservative (Non-Surgical) Treatment 

If you have mild or moderate symptoms, you can be treated without surgery. An exercise program designed by your doctor or a physical therapist can help you stay active and control your pain. If you have severe pain, steroid injections can be helpful. 

Conservative treatments for kyphosis include:

  • Physical therapy exercises to strengthen your lower back and help relieve pain
  • Steroid injections  
  • Bracing (for children)
  • Observation and repeated examinations to measure curve progression (for children)

Surgical Treatment 

If your kyphosis doesn't improve with other treatments, or you have severe kyphosis, you might have surgery.  You should also consider surgery if you have severe pain and weakness that affects your ability to move around normally. If you have had severe kyphosis for a long time, it can be difficult to return to normal activities even after surgery.   

Types of surgery for kyphosis include: