Kyphosis is a curving of the spine that causes a bowing or rounding of the back, which leads to a hunchback or slouching posture.
Causes and Risk Factors
Kyphosis can occur at any age, although it is rare at birth.
Adolescent kyphosis, also known as Scheuermann’s disease, is caused by the wedging together of several bones of the spine (vertebrae) in a row. The cause of Scheuermann’s disease is unknown.
In adults, kyphosis can be caused by:
- Degenerative diseases of the spine (such as arthritis or disk degeneration)
- Fractures caused by osteoporosis (osteoporotic compression fractures)
- Injury (trauma)
- Slipping of one vertebra forward on another (spondylolisthesis)
Other causes of kyphosis include:
- Certain endocrine diseases
- Connective tissue disorders
- Infection (such as tuberculosis)
- Muscular dystrophy
- Paget’s disease
- Spina bifida
Spinal adjustments as well as flexion exercises are often utilized by a chiropractor to maximize the mobility of the spine. Specific spinal manipulation involves gentle thrusting techniques that helps stimulate the nervous system, stretch muscles, and realign a vertebra that is subluxated.
Foam rolling is essential therapy for patients with poor thoracic spine mobility. It never hurts to gain mobility, especially in the thoracic spine. The most useful foam roll exercise for the thoracic spine is to lay the foam roller across the thoracic spine in the stiff, hypomobile areas, knees bent with feet on the floor, and then arch back over the foam roll. Foam rolling can be performed daily and is best performed before stretching as a way to self-mobilize the joints.
We all know that prolonged sitting at the computer is contributing to increased kyphosis. Exercises like benching and curling can increase kyphosis. I teach my patients how to perform Brugger’s maneuver with and without the resistance of an exercise band. Every person serious about improving posture needs to know how to do Brugger’s maneuver properly.