What is kyphosis posture? Kyphosis, also known as hunchback or roundback, is a condition in which the upper back of the spine has an excessive curvature. Your upper back, or thoracic region of the spine, is supposed to have a natural curve. There are natural curves in the neck, upper back, and lower back to absorb shock and support the head. Kyphosis occurs when there is a larger arch in the spine than normal.
If you have a visible hump on your upper back, you may have kyphosis. If you look at your spine from the side, your upper back may be noticeably rounded or protruding. Kyphosis can cause pain from excess pressure on the spine. This can also cause breathing difficulties due to pressure put on the lungs.
Unfortunately, kyphosis can affect people of any age. Newborns are rarer cases because it’s usually caused by poor posture over time. Kyphosis caused by poor posture is known as postural kyphosis, which is what we’ll focus on in this article.
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When To Seek Treatment for Kyphosis
You should be seeking treatment if your kyphosis is accompanied by:
- Breathing difficulties
Our spines need to be healthy. Much of our body movements depend on that, including our:
- daily activities
It’s always better to seek treatment to help correct the curvature of your spine. Treatment greatly reduces the risk of complications later in life like arthritis or back pain.
Treatment for your kyphosis depends on the severity and underlying cause. Luckily, if the cause is the result of poor posture, you will not need aggressive treatments. If you’re unsure of the cause, always consult with your doctor to get a clear picture of what to do.
Did you know yoga can improve your posture?
Check out these awesome moves to get you started…
The following treatments may help relieve a lot of the symptoms of kyphosis:
- Medication to relieve pain, if necessary
- Physical therapy to build strength in your core and back muscles
- Yoga to increase body awareness and to build strength, flexibility, and greater range of motion
- Weight loss to relieve excess burden on the spine
- Braces to help keep the natural curvature of the spine
- Surgery in severe cases
Risks of Untreated Kyphosis
Don’t get too scared if you think that you have postural kyphosis. For most people, this does not cause serious health problems. Of course, that’s all dependent on the cause. If you have postural kyphosis caused by poor posture, you may suffer from pain and breathing difficulties. If untreated, these will only get worse later in life.
Two ways you can treat kyphosis early is:
- Strengthening the muscles of your back
- Seeing a physical therapist
Slow, easy back strengthening exercises will bring improved posture. Improved posture long-term will decrease pain, chances of immobility and other health problems as you get older.
How To Prevent Kyphosis Posture
Are you starting to notice rounded shoulders with your neck protruding forward? Do you slouch in your chair at work? Do you stand up to leave work and feel like your back resembles a question mark?
If you answered “Yes” to any of these questions, then you’re in the beginning stages of kyphosis posture. But, do not worry. The good news is you can reverse the effects before any long-term damage begins to take effect.
Read below for five different exercises to do a few times per week until you see your posture is improved. You only have to do three of the five, but one must be a chest exercise. Be sure to consult with your doctor before starting any exercise program:
Facing the corner of a wall, extend your right arm and place your hand against the side of the wall. Turn your body left and lean forward to feel the stretch in your chest and shoulder. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds and complete on both sides for three sets.
Chest Compression With A Massage Ball
Holding a massage ball in both hands, press the ball and slowly roll it around the right side of your chest. Apply steady pressure to areas of tightness as you move the ball around to relieve tension. Massage for about 30 seconds on each side of your chest for three sets.
Upper Back Foam Rolling
This is another massage technique to help fix kyphosis posture by improving spine mobility and correcting rounded shoulders. Lay the foam roller across the spine in the middle of your back just below the shoulder blades. Bend your knees with your feet planted firmly against the ground. Keep your hands comfortably behind your head. Lifting your hips off the ground, roll forward so the roller travels down your back an inch, then drop your hips. Repeat until the foam roller is hovering a couple inches below your neck, then roll back down to the start. Roll back and forth any areas of stiffness for 10-15 seconds.
Prone Y Extension
This exercise rotates your shoulders outward, stretches your abdomen, stretches your chest, and strengthens your lower back muscles. Lie flat on the floor with your legs shoulder width apart and your arms extended in a “Y” over your head. Lift your torso while simultaneously externally rotating your shoulders so your palms are facing upwards. Hold for 5-10 seconds, then lower down. Repeat for three sets of eight repetitions.
Close Grip Row
The close grip row can be completed seated using a cable machine, or by standing using a resistance band. Wrap the resistance band around a stable object at chest level. Walk back a few feet until you feel moderate tension in the band. Extend your arms with a slight bend in your knees and feet placed shoulder width apart. Keeping your head up, shoulders back, chest out, back straight, slowly pull the bands toward the sides of your torso while squeezing your shoulder blades. Slowly resist the band until your arms are fully extended. Three sets of 15 repetitions.
Work these exercises into your weekly routine and your back, shoulders, and chest muscles will strengthen in no time. You’ll be seeing better posture before you know it.