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Postural Hyper-Kyphosis

A kyphosis is the medical name for a forwards curve in your spine and is usually found in the middle of your back.

Common Signs & Symptoms

  • A rounded (hump) in your middle back which worsens as you grow older
  • Begins gradually, usually starts as a teenager
  • Pain, stiffness and muscle fatigue, making it more difficult to move and walk upright
  • Some people may experience spinal fractures as your condition advances

You may notice you are:

  • Having difficulty getting up from a chair, out of bed, or out of the bathtub
  • Walking more slowly
  • Feeling "off-balance," and/or losing your balance, or almost falling
  • Feeling more tired than usual (fatigue)
  • Having difficulty breathing (in more severe cases)

Description

A kyphosis is the medical name for a forwards curve in your spine and is usually found in the middle of your back. Postural kyphosis is where this curve is more prominent as the result of poor posture such as slumping. Poor posture will lead to weak muscles and ligaments in your back. These patients can have symptoms of pain and muscle fatigue.

In the western world, postural kyphosis is very common - much of this can be put down to people spending too much time in sitting, especially in a slumped position.

Hyper-kyphosis is where you have a greater amount of kyphosis - it’s estimated that 20% to 40% of older adults, both men and women suffer hyper-kyphosis. This is diagnosed if your curve measures greater than 40 degrees on X Ray. Postural hyper-kyphosis always develops slowly but if you develop this quickly you should see your doctor as this may stem from a medical problem.

Advice & Treatment

Postural hyper-kyphosis can usually be treated with physiotherapy. Treatments include:

  • Exercises to strengthen your core (stomach and back) muscles and develop good posture.
  • Myofascial/soft tissue manual therapy (using hands-on techniques) to keep your soft tissues in good condition
  • Stretching and flexibility exercises
  • Postural correction exercises
  • Taping to help improve your postural awareness to help reduce the angle of your curve.
  • Physiotherapy treatment to improve the glide and mobility of your joints
  • Balance exercises and walking (gait) training to increase your tolerance of activity and improve your safety by reducing your risk of falls.
  • Training to help improve you safety with daily activities such as getting in and out of bed, in and out of the bathtub, or out of a chair, and how to bend and walk with more ease
  • Mild pain relievers and anti-inflammatory medications can also help with your symptoms. Surgery is not needed for postural kyphosis
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