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Cervical Kyphosis (Military Neck): Symptoms, Causes & Treatment

Have you ever seen someone with an abnormally shaped upper spine? This is known as cervical kyphosis. It can occur at any age. Not only does this spine disorder reduce your mobility, but it also affects your body image, resulting in low self-esteem. If you notice any discomfort in your neck, it may involve your cervical spine. Talk to the best neurosurgeon at NU-Spine, a spinal medicine practice in Edison, NJ. Dr. Branko Skovrlj uses advanced spinal diagnosis techniques, which makes your treatment more effective. Don’t wait too long; early treatment reverses the abnormal spine curvature, which averts more consequences of the disease. Call now to schedule an appointment.

What Is Cervical Kyphosis?

Cervical Kyphosis

Cervical kyphosis, also known as military neck, is a rare spinal disorder that affects the cervical spine — that is, the bones in your neck. The condition describes an abnormal curvature of the cervical spine into a C-shaped curve. Cervical kyphosis can leave you disabled, unable to work or move normally, which of course affects the quality of your life. This spinal dysfunction strikes both children and adults.

A healthy spine has a natural curve to it that:

  • Supports the weight of your head
  • Provides adequate protection and flexibility for your brain stem
  • Helps you maintain a healthy posture and proper balance

When you develop a forward curvature of the vertebrae in your neck, you lose the natural arc of your cervical spine. Your cervical spine may also straighten, which is still abnormal and dangerous. It reflects the spinal disorder called kyphosis.

Kyphosis can be successfully treated. If you notice a change in the shape of your upper neck or nagging neck pain, visit Dr. Branko Skovrlj, the leading spine neurosurgeon at NU-Spine, The Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery Center, in Edison, NJ. He applies the latest spinal treatment methods to restore your cervical spine functionality and flexibility.

What Are Military Neck Symptoms?

Cervical kyphosis can cause the following symptoms:

  • Stiffness
  • Limited range of motion
  • Headache
  • Neck pain
  • Pain in fingers and toes
  • Problems with coordination
  • Weak muscles
  • Abnormal spine curvature
  • Paralysis
  • Problems with bladder and bowel control

Not everyone who has cervical kyphosis will have the same symptoms. But if extreme cases are left untreated, people with the military neck can experience paralysis, bladder control problems, and bowel control problems.

Is Cervical Kyphosis a Disability?

Kyphosis is a disability and can affect every region of your spine, including the upper back, the mid-back and the lower back kyphosis. When it happens in your neck, kyphosis changes the natural lordotic or inward curve of your vertebrae into an outward “C” curve. This change in curvature causes myriad problems with your overall health, such as:

  • A difference in your shoulder height, from one side to the other
  • Mild back pain
  • Spine stiffness
  • Weakness and numbness in your arms and hands
  • Shortness of breath
  • Problems swallowing and breathing
  • A chin-to-chest deformity
  • Dropped head syndrome in severe cases
  • Body image problems, leading to low self-esteem

This spinal disorder alters some of your body functions, such as limiting your neck movements. It can give you a hunchback appearance if it happens in your lower neck area. It affects the way you move, too.

What Causes Cervical Kyphosis?

Cervical kyphosis is a rare condition. It can stem from a number of causes, including:

  • Trauma, including a whiplash injury to your cervical spine
  • A neck injury that leads to a compression injury
  • Spinal fractures, including broken or crushed cervical vertebrae, from an accident
  • A severe compressed nerve in your neck
  • Degenerative disc disease in older adults
  • Congenital kyphosis, which is a birth defect from the improper development of the spine
  • Medical conditions, such as a spinal infection, osteoporosis, a tumor, cancer in the spine, muscular dystrophy, neurofibromatosis, Scheuermann’s disease and Paget’s disease
  • Surgical complications, for example from a laminectomy in less capable hands than Dr. Skovrlj’s — in fact, this expert neurosurgeon has completed many revision surgeries

Some risk factors for developing kyphosis include osteoporosis and hereditary factors. At NU-Spine, the specialists rely on a patient-centered process, starting with a complete evaluation to identify the specific underlying cause. This approach directs your doctor to the most effective cervical kyphosis treatment for reducing pain and restoring your mobility.

Cervical Kyphosis Treatment Options

If you notice problems with pain or flexibility of your neck, visit NU-Spine in Edison, NJ for a comprehensive diagnosis. With the recent advances in spinal treatment, your doctor can now restore or realign the curvature of your cervical spine. After comprehensive evaluation determines a diagnosis of cervical kyphosis, Dr. Skovrlj offers a range of non-surgical treatments if your condition is stable and not causing you too much discomfort, such as:

  • Ice and heat therapy for pain relief
  • Pain medications, which does nothing for the underlying reason for your pain
  • Targeted physical therapy
  • A neck brace, such as a Milwaukee brace or a supraclavicular brace

If you need surgical intervention, you and your doctor talk about your options, whether it’s a minimally invasive or traditional surgery. Then, your spinal specialist recommends a cervical kyphosis treatment option to restore the curvature of your cervical spine and decompress the spinal cord, such as:

The spinal specialists at NU-Spine recommend the best treatment for you, no matter what you need — and not every patient needs surgery, even for cervical kyphosis. But when cervical spine kyphosis surgery is the best option, you’re in the right place and in the best hands. If you have neck pain or limited neck flexibility, don’t wait any longer. Contact the spine doctors in Edison, NJ to restore your spine to its full capability.

Page Updated on Aug 29, 2022 by Dr. Branko Skovrlj (Neurosurgeon / Spine surgeon) of NU-Spine: The Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery Institute in New Jersey

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