Kyphosis is the spinal condition that makes someone look ‘hunched’ or ‘bent over’. Kyphosis is an increase in the flexion or rounding of the back. Kyphosis can range from mild to severe and debilitating. Kyphosis occurs when the bones of the spinal column, called vertebra, become abnormally curved. It can occur in the neck, mid back and lower back however is most frequent in the neck and we call this a ‘reverse cervical curve’ or ‘loss of cervical lordosis’. There are several causes of kyphosis such as osteoporosis and other pathologies. Genetics is a large factor in kyphosis also.
A distinction must be made between normal kyphosis and abnormal kyphosis and without getting too technical and loosing the message all together its best to say this. Everyone has a thoracic spine (mid back) kyphotic curve or kyphosis this is the normal shape of the spine. It is only when this kyphotic curve becomes too large or is in the wrong place just as the neck and low back. We assess this curvature on X-ray, MRI or CT scan.
If the kyphosis becomes too large it can cause spinal cord compression or compress organs and lead to serious problems. Only in severe causes of kyphosis is surgery required. Surgical correction is usually only necessary when spinal cord or organ compression is involved. A neurosurgeon will likely suggest surgery to decompress the spinal cord. The most common procedure is spinal fusion and this involves the surgeon fusing the spine together in order to limit further progression and degeneration.
Chiropractic and Physiotherapy plays an important role in the treatment of mild and moderate kyphosis, great relief in symptoms can be achieved using a combination of non-surgical joint and muscle techniques. Contact Sydney Spine & Sports Centre (S3C) today, and one of our Balmain or Rozelle chiropractors will be happy to give you more information.