Kyphosis is a type of curvature in the spinal column and is normally present in the thoracic spine. A kyphotic curve looks like the letter “C” with the top of the C being your neck and head and pointing towards the front. Although the thoracic spine is naturally curved, a person with kyphosis has a more pronounced curve and appears hunched over. Adults suffering from kyphosis can have varying symptoms and degrees of severity, ranging from minor changes in the shape of the back, to severe deformity, nerve problems, and chronic pain. Kyphosis is most commonly present in the thoracic spine, though it can also affect the cervical and lumbar spine. Kyphosis can develop from various causes including, congenital, post surgical complications, from birth, accident or trauma and also incorrect postural tendencies.
Types and causes of kyphosis
- Postural Kyphosis: often more present in young adults and adolescents, is caused by slouching when standing or sitting causing the spine to curve forward.
- Scheuermann's Kyphosis: When 3 or more spinal vertebrae wedge together that appear like triangles. It is not fully know what causes this type of kyphosis but it is believed that the cartilage ring around the vertebrae loses its blood supply for unclear reasons and cause the vertebrae to wedge together from a severe curvature between 45-75 degrees.
- Congenital Kyphosis: Is an inherited abnormality that deforms the spinal column from birth. This kyphosis is one of the leading causes of lower body paralysis(non-infectious type).
- Post traumatic issues develop most commonly when there is a fracture in the vertebrae and most likely lead to some form of kyphosis
- Degeneration of vertebral discs in the lumbar spine will often cause weakness in the ligaments and muscle which cause collapsing of the entire vertebral column.
- Pain, primarily in the area of the kyphosis
- difficulty in breathing and effects on proper heart function.
- Weakness in the lower extremities
- Hunched over appearance and general fatigue in the upper shoulder and neck area
Risk factors for Kyphosis
- Aging (especially if you have poor posture)
- Muscle weakness in the upper back
- Scheuermann’s disease (occurs in children and has no known cause)
- Arthritis or other bone degeneration diseases
- Osteoporosis (loss of bone strength due to age)
- Injury to the spine
- Slipped discs
- Scoliosis (spinal curvature)
Prevention of Kyphosis
- Some forms of abnormal kyphosis are preventable by implementing certain practices:
- Most important is maintaining proper posture when standing and sitting. Stretching and strengthen of certain muscle groups will help maintain proper posture.
- Proper nutrition and adequate intake of calcium is important for bone health and prevention of osteoporosis.
- An ergonomic work station or area can help prevent conditions which lead to poor body posture.
At home Treatment of Kyphosis
- Certain stretching and foam rolling can help with symptoms but should come from professional instructions.
Treatment of Kyphosis
We use the following approaches to treat Kyphosis
- ASTR® Tools: Our doctors use a variety of ASTR® tools to release scar tissue and myofascial restriction, which can decrease mobility and flexibility.
- Special exercise program to decrease pain, strengthen the muscles, stabilize and help the patient to return to normal function and activities.
- Special instructions on how to speed up the recovery time.
- Cold Laser Therapy: Tissue inflammation is common with Kyphosis. Cold laser is used in order to decrease inflammation that causes pressure on the affected area.