Poor posture, or slouching, in your mid back is referred to kyphosis.
Kyphosis in Greek means a hump, but it’s better referred to as an excessive convex curve in the thoracic spine.Having an excessive kyphotic curve in the thoracic spine also affects the cervical, lumbar and sacral regions of the spine.
What causes kyphosis?
Kyphosis can because by several different underlying conditions.
Chronic bad posture can cause kyphosis
Chronic poor posture or slouching over time can cause a biomechanical imbalance in the thoracic spine and kyphosis. Spending 8 to 10 hours a day at the computer or desk is very common these days. Overtime, this slouching and poor posture can permanently change the structure of your spinal column.
Osteoporosis can cause kyphosis
This is a condition that affects older patients. This is a condition where bones begin to weaken and thin most commonly with older age. I see this as a common problem among the older patient demographic at my Raleigh, NC chiropractic office.
Degeneration of the intervertebral discs can cause kyphosis
The intervertebral discs are the soft tissue between the vertebrae. If they begin to thin and degenerate this can cause kyphosis in the thoracic spine.
Schumermann’s disease can cause kyphosis
This disease is characterized by excessive thoracic kyphosis and wedging of the vertebrae which can take place at multiple levels in the spine. It typically affects boys before they reach puberty and can be diagnosed on a plain film x-ray .
Certain birth defects can cause kyphosis
Kyphosis can be the under development of the spine many times this is associated with poor nutrition during a mothers pregnancy such as B vitamin deficiency or folic acid deficiency.
Are there any side effects or complications of kyphosis?
Yes. Some of the side effects or complications of kyphosis include:
- Back pain
- Poor body image, confidence and self-esteem.
- Weight loss and decreased appetite
In severe cases, the excessive kyphosis in the thoracic spine can compress the stomach and abdominal regions and lead to decreased appetite
How is kyphosis diagnosed and treated?
Kyphosis is diagnosed by a postural evaluation, thorough history and physical examination. We can help make a diagnosis at our Raleigh, NC chiropractic office. vX-rays can be obtained in office to diagnose and visualize the structure of the spine and in many cases measure the extent of the abnormal curves. In advanced or severe cases, an MRI scan or CT scan maybe ordered to better visualize the nerves, spinal cord and discs.
Chiropractic treatment and management includes:
Specific spinal adjustments into the vertebrae of the spine, corrective strengthening and stretching exercises, postural consulting and management, back bracing, addressing calcium vitamin D and magnesium deficiencies which can be affecting the bones, recommending weight bearing exercises, addressing leg length deficiencies and problems in the feet with custom foot orthotics.
It’s also important to treat the areas of pain with physical therapies here in our chiropractic office such as electrical muscle stimulation, ultrasound therapy, myofascial release, manual therapy, traction therapy. In rare cases, kyphosis will require surgery and you will need a referral to speak with an orthopedic or neurosurgeon who specializes in spine surgeries.
In summary, kyphosis or excessive slouching in the spine is a condition that should be taken seriously especially if it’s affecting one’s daily activities of life like sleeping, working, participating in recreational activities.
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Dr. Jeffrey Gerdes D.C.