What is Kyphosis? Is it preventable? Is it treatable?

San Francisco Chiropractor Comments:

We have been helping patients with kyphosis for over 18 years at Executive Express Chiropractic(formerly Front Street Chiropractic) in downtown San Francisco. How much we can help depends on the following:

1. The underlying cause of the kyphosis (is it acquired or congenital?). See Mayo clinic link below.

2. The age of the patient and the severity of the problem (the younger the better).

3. Are there any complicating factors such as a scoliosis, or a short leg, or foot pronation (sometimes a short leg or foot pronation can be adjusted with custom orthotics). Do any medical complications such as Multiple Sclerosis (MS) exist?

4. Are there any bad habits that could be accelerating the kyphosis development that can be modified immediately…like sleeping postures, ergonomic set-ups, laptop usage, driving, knapsacks? (this is why we like to see children when they are very young).

5. Emotional factors such as depression, learning disabilities, family instability, and emotional trauma can also play a role in kyphosis.

Here is an excerpt of what The Mayo Clinic has to say about kyphosis:

Kyphosis is a forward rounding of your upper back. Some rounding is normal, but the term "kyphosis" usually refers to an exaggerated rounding, more than 50 degrees. This deformity is also called round back or hunchback.

With kyphosis, your spine may look normal, or you may develop a hump. Kyphosis can occur as a result of developmental problems; degenerative diseases, such as arthritis of the spine; osteoporosis with compression fractures of the vertebrae; or trauma to the spine. It can affect all ages.

Mild kyphosis may cause few problems. But severe cases can affect your lungs, nerves, and other tissues and organs, causing pain and other problems. Treatment for kyphosis depends on your age, the cause of the curvature and its effects.

 Some of the common conditions that accompany a thoracic kyphosis are Forward Head Posture and Hyperlordosis of the lumbar spine. Both are adaptations to the kyphosis…or is the kyphosis an adaptation?…who knows…and it doesn't really matter. What matters at Executive Express Chiropractic is can we help it? And if so, how? 

Primarily we can help treat and prevent Postural (aquired kyphosis) kyphosis.

What we want to do is focus on the things we know we can change…like bad posture habits, and adjusting any kind of a short leg or foot pronation with orthotics.

Then, we want to look at what we think we can adjust as far as the kyphosis complex itself, any hyperlordosis, or forward head posture.

Depending on the patients age, we will taylor make a treatment program that consist of mirror image exercises, specific chiropractic mirror image adjustments, and Active Release Techniques (ART), to turn on muscles that are not working enough, and turn off muscles that are working to hard. We also may use home cervical traction methods to help re-position the head over the body (move it back).

In severe cases we may incorporate class IV deep tissue laser therapy with the LiteCure LCT-1000 to break up scar tissue formation from long standing muscle spasms and inflammation.

We also look to strengthen the abdominal muscles as weak abs can lead to hyperlordosis and compensatory kyphosis. Everything is connected.

So sure…we can help correct kyphosis…but it's sure a lot easier to prevent it from happening in the first place which is why we like to see kids…the younger the better. Children love chiropractic…after they get used to the process. And…they don't need a whole lot of treatment. Children heal quick. 

I have a 4 year old daughter and she is always on her laptop playing games with her head looking down. So I make sure I teach her how to do this at a desk with good posture…and I adjust her to counter-act these negative influences. With video games, computers, and all the other electronic devices that invite poor posture in kids…chiropractic is the perfect antidote. 

So whether you are an adult and you already have a kyphosis…or you are a parent and you think your child is developing a kyphosis…or you just want to prevent it from happening at all…chiropractic should be right at the top of your list.

Sure, there are some medical conditions that can contribute to kyphosis that are beyond the scope of chiropractic, and you can read about them on the Mayo clinic website link above…but my experience has been that chiropractic is the best tool for kyphosis treatment and prevention.  

To find out if you are a candidate for care at Executive Express Chiropractic in the San Francisco Financial District…call 415-392-2225.  


Eben Davis

I am a Chiropractor in the San Francisco Financial District specializing in chronic neck, arm and hand pain. I also treat herniated discs using spinal decompression, whiplash, sports injuries, headaches, and Fibromyalgia. My clinic is certified in the use of Deep Tissue Laser Therapy with the LiteCure LCT-1000 for conditions such as shoulder pain, TMJ and Plantar Fasciitis. I have been in practice for over 20 years.

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