Kyphosis of the Spine
Kyphosis is a forward curvature of the middle to upper back which occurs in the thoracic spine and is a normal curvature of the spine in a healthy individual. However, if an individual has an excessive thoracic curve, this is known as hyper kyphosis of the thoracic spine and needs to be accessed by a spine professional such as the doctors at Functional Wellness Center in Scottsdale Arizona. If left untreated this condition will likely continue to get worse which will lead to some major health complications in the future.
The greatest indication of kyphosis is a visible forward curvature in the upper portion of the spine. The upper back appears curved over, with the shoulders rounded forward as a result of this posture. In minor situations, the additional spinal curve is barely visible. In other instances, a person may look as if their spine is collapsing forwards (which it actually is). Kyphosis is often asymptomatic. However, some symptoms can include: Pain throughout the entire spine, muscle stiffness throughout the spine, forward head posture, rounded upper back, just to name a few.
Types and causes of kyphosis
The spine is made up of 24 vertebral bones that stack on top of each other. The spine is supported by this structure and along with that it also houses and protects the spinal cord. There are several types of kyphosis.
- Postural kyphosis: This is the most common form of kyphosis. It generally begins in adolescence, when incorrect posture causes the muscles surrounding the spine to develop differently. Slouching promotes forward curvature and strain on the spine’s extensor muscles and posterior ligaments, which will weaken over time. This can also happen to seniors, because of atrophied muscles.
- Scheuermann’s kyphosis: also known as Scheuermann disease, juvenile kyphosis or juvenile discogenic disease, is a condition of hyper kyphosis that involves anterior wedging of the vertebral bodies and discs that are greater than or equal to 5 degrees in 3 or more consecutive vertebral bodies
- Kyphosis that is age-related: This type of kyphosis results in a curve in the spine which becomes more severe as the individual ages. It is often brought about by conditions that have an effect on the bones located in the spine. A condition that illustrates this well is osteoporosis, where bones become less dense and weaker and will fracture easily.
- Congenital kyphosis: kyphosis that is evident at birth, due to the spine not developing properly before childbirth, it is referred to as congenital kyphosis. Oftentimes, this condition will rapidly grow worse with age.
Diagnosis of kyphosis
The doctors at Functional Wellness Center diagnose kyphosis by performing a physical exam and the proper digital x-rays. Doctors may request a patient to do exercises or stretches to assess their balance and range of motion. The doctors will often ask a patient to lay down on their back while they examine the spine. If the spine straightens out, this implies it is flexible and that the source is most likely to be postural kyphosis rather than a structural problem with the spine. If the spine remains curved, it is most likely to be a structural form of kyphosis.
Complications from kyphosis
If not addressed and treated properly when kyphosis becomes more severe, complications will occur, such as an irreversible severely increased thoracic spinal curvature that has sustained so much structural damage that correction is out of the question, these patients must do treatment now to make sure to stop the progression as soon as possible. If not stopped these patients will have persistent back pain, problems with respiration, increased pressure on the heart, and a decreased quality of life. Increased thoracic spine kyphosis will also compress and pinch the spinal cord, causing problems with the nerves that supply the legs and lower body. This will lead to symptoms such as weakness and/or numbness in the arms or legs, loss of balance, and continued collapsing of the spine to the point where these people can no longer stand up straight and have to stare down at the ground when standing and walking.
The goals of kyphosis treatment at Functional Wellness Center are to stop the progression of the curve, relieve pain, and improve appearance, and get the most curve correction possible. The doctors at Functional Wellness Center are both certified in the specialty Chiropractic Biophysics (CBP). When utilizing this unique technique, it allows the doctors to properly diagnose and treat any kyphosis condition. They will come up with a patient specific plan that includes mirror image postural exercises, postural spinal adjustments, and patient specific spinal tractions with their state-of-the-art spinal traction devices. This patient specific way of treating kyphosis allows the patient to get amazing long-term results that last. If you would like more information, please visit our website at www.chiropractorscottsdale.com or email us at [email protected] with any questions.
Functional Wellness Center
7555 E. Osborn Rd
Scottsdale, AZ 85251