Kyphosis Self Treatment
Introduction to Kyphosis
Watch the introduction video below to get a better understanding on how The O’Connor Technique can help people with Kyphosis
Kyphosis is defined as a forward bending of the spine. Kyphosis can be called roundback or Kelso’s hunchback. Kyphosis is usually looked upon as a disease of the elderly and called a “dowager’s hump;” however Kyphosis can occur in younger patients and is attributed to “slouching.”
This presentation will answer the following Kyphosis questions with information about Kyphosis not available elsewhere.
What Causes the most common form of Kyphosis?
Postural kyphosis is by far the most common type of Kyphosis, it is often attributed to poor posture and slouching for too much time with the neck or upper thorax spent bent forward. Kyphosis is most commonly seen in older people; but it can occur in the young. In the young, kyphosis can be blamed on ‘slouching’ and supposedly reversible by correcting muscular imbalances; however it is not that simple. Many, if not most, people slouch a lot but a markedly lower percentage develop significant Kyphosis indicating that slouching posture alone is not sufficient reason to develop Kyphosis. In the very old, it is referred to as hyperkyphosis and called ‘dowager’s hump’ a third of which are due to having had vertebral fractures. However, because the aging body does tend towards a loss of musculoskeletal integrity, hyperkyphosis can develop due to aging alone.
The Kyphosis problem more often than not can be initiated by an injury such as whiplash, falls, or any weight bearing injury when the neck or chest is bent forward causing the intervertebral disc material to displace towards the back(posterior) side . One of the first signs of impending Thoracic or Cervical Kyphosis can be pain when bending forward or pain and interference when attempting to bend the neck or upper thorax backwards or when trying to look over the shoulder and upwards. The forward bending injury displaces the disc material so as to prevent the spine from backward bending (extension) due to a painful obstruction caused by the displaced disc material acting like a pencil in a door hinge. It is most likely that if you have kyphosis it is due to this mechanism rather than an inborn genetic disease.
Kyphosis is also found to result from degenerative diseases such as arthritis, developmental diseases, most commonly postural Kyphosis, Scheuermann’s disease, osteoporosis (bone mineral loss due to ageing) with compression fractures of the vertebrae, or flexion trauma.
Scheuermann’s kyphosis is significantly worse cosmetically and can cause varying degrees of pain, and can also affect different areas of the spine (the most common being the midthoracic area). Scheuermann’s kyphosis is considered a form of juvenile osteochondrosis of the spine, and is more commonly called Scheuermann’s disease. It is found mostly in teenagers and presents a significantly worse deformity than postural kyphosis. A patient suffering from Scheuermann’s kyphosis cannot consciously correct posture. The apex of the curve, located in the thoracic vertebrae, is quite rigid. The patient may feel pain at this apex, which can be aggravated by physical activity and by long periods of standing or sitting. This can have a significantly detrimental effect on their lives, as their level of activity is curbed by their condition; they may feel isolated or uneasy amongst peers if they are children, depending on the level of deformity.
Whereas in postural kyphosis, the vertebrae and disks appear normal, in Scheuermann’s kyphosis, they are irregular, often herniated, and wedge‑shaped over at least three adjacent levels. Fatigue is a very common symptom, most likely because of the intense muscle work that has to be put into standing and/or sitting properly. The condition appears to run in families. Most patients who undergo surgery to correct their Kyphosis have Scheuermann’s disease.
How can Kyphosis be Diagnosed?
Self-Diagnosing Kyphosis can be as simple as observing one’s self from a side view while standing sideways to a mirror. If one can observe a prominent bending forward of the spine that appears much more prominent than other people observed , probably Kyphosis is occurring. An X-ray would be more accurate and easier interpreted quantitatively with angle measurements.
More importantly, if a person suspects that they are progressively getting Kyphosis, they can do a simple test to determine if it is the type that is easily amenable to therapy. This test is offered FREE at backpainoconnor.com and can be found under the heading Step 2. This test will demonstrate whether or not there is piece of displaced disc material causing an obstruction to the ability to bend backwards. If an intervertebral disc is causing the inability to move the spine in a circular manner until it starts to bend backwards, there will be a point when the circular movement cannot be completed without pain.
How can Kyphosis be Successfully Treated?
The successful treatment of Kyphosis is critically dependent upon early recognition and practicing an intentional effort to correct the flexion deformity from advancing. Kyphosis caused by disc material displacement posteriorly can be arrested in its progression by re-centralizing the disc material. A unique method to accomplish the re-centralization of the displaced disc material is presented in the website backpainoconnor.com where FREE information is given on how to determine if you have the problem of displaced disc material putting you at risk for Kyphosis. The website has a FREE video presentation showing how an individual can self-diagnose; then learn how to self-treat this intervertebral disc problem through a simple, self-administered, physical therapy method.
What can be expected if Kyphosis is not managed successfully?
Kyphosis can progress to such severity that a person cannot see objects above the horizon because the head is tilted so far down that the neck cannot raise the head high enough for the eyes to see. If it is at the high thoracic or neck level, it can become so severe as to prevent the person from breathing. At a certain point, the Kyphosis becomes irreversible requiring the necessity for extensive surgery and it is for that reason that Kyphosis must be identified and appropriately managed early.
How can Kyphosis be prevented?
There is good reason to believe that with early enough recognition and intervention that most postural Kyphosis and a substantial amount of Scheuermann’s Kyphosis can be prevented in many if not most instances. When the intervertebral disc material is displaced to the posterior, it prevents the spine from bending backwards. If the spine cannot bend backwards normally (Extension), it is kept in constant bent forwards position (Flexion) because of a wedge like effect caused by the displaced disc material. This moves the center of gravity forwards, thereby putting more continuous flexion on the spine. If a person can only bend forwards at the neck and the weight of the head never goes backwards enough to rest directly above the spinal column, the weight of the head pulls the spine into a Kyphosis. If a person can only bend forwards at the neck and the weight of the head never goes backwards enough to rest directly above the spinal column, the weight of the head pulls the spine into a Kyphosis. This Kyphosis is also aggravated by occupation (surgeons, drivers,), lying in bed with a pillow propping the head, and slouching watching TV or video games.
It is at a critical early juncture that The O’Connor Technique needs to be employed as soon as this situation is recognized so as to relieve the pain, return to normal range of motion, and restore the normal curvature by re-centralizing the disc material. If this isn’t accomplished, the spine then remodels into the bent forward configuration and worsens with time getting progressively more flexed permanently to such a degree that only surgery could hope to help.