Physiotherapy Treatment for Kyphosis
Kyphosis is a postural syndrome of the upper back and neck. The upper back appears typically curved with rounded shoulders, the scapula (shoulder blades) are protracted (positioned further away from the spine) and the chin pokes forward rather than being tucked in. This happens in all sections of the population. In the world of sports, cyclists and baseball players are at high risk, as they have to hold postures for long periods. Also, amateur bodybuilders who develop and tighten their pectoralis (chest) muscles neglect the muscles in the upper back.
Cervical posture syndrome is sometimes also called upper crossed syndrome. This is due to the muscle imbalances which are present with this type of posture. For instance, the pecs and posterior neck muscles are tight and the muscles of the upper back and deep neck flexors are weak. On connecting the two tight muscle groups and the two weakened muscle groups with two straight lines, they form a cross shape, hence the name upper crossed syndrome.
Adopting a poor posture over a prolonged period of time can cause cervical postural syndrome or kyphosis. This may occur due to sitting (working on a computer or driving) or while performing everyday activities such as cooking and cleaning. Muscle imbalance may also contribute to poor posture.
Imbalance of muscles in the upper back and neck means that the pectoralis major muscle in the front of your chest and the muscles in the back of the neck are shortened and tight. The muscles at the back of the shoulders and upper back (trapezius, latissimus and rhomboids) are weakened and stretched.
Burning or aching sensation in the upper back and neck. Pain eases with movement and is usually not present once active. Pain is made worse by prolonged standing or sitting especially when leaning forward.
Professional physiotherapy treatment for kyphosis or postural syndrome can significantly help reduce symptoms, ensure an optimal outcome and prevent recurrence. Physical therapy may comprise of:
- Exercises to improve strength, posture or flexibility
- Biomechanical correction
- Electrotherapy (e.g. Ultrasound)
- Soft tissue massage (particularly to the upper cervical extensors, pectorals, upper trapezius and levator scapulae muscles)
- Postural education and retraining
- Postural bracing
- Postural taping
- Joint mobilization particularly to the lower neck and upper back)
- Activity modification advice
If you’ve been experiencing various problems related to your upper back and neck, it’s crucial for you to get in touch with us. We can help you learn safe exercises for kyphosis. Exercise is important to improve bone health. We work closely with our patients to help develop an exercise plan that may involve weight bearing exercises. The exercise plan will be outlined for particularly for your condition, taking into account your bone health, health history and physical abilities.