Kyphosis is an increase in the anterior curvature of the thoracic region. It commonly results from a collapse of one or more vertebral bodies. Thus, it presents itself as an outwardly curved convex thoracic spine.


The criteria for diagnosis is a thoracic kyphosis of greater than 40 degrees (Note: 25-40 degrees is normal) and a wedging of greater than 5 degrees of three adjacent vertebrae. The clinical findings:

  • tight hamstrings
  • poor posture
  • back pain located over the apex of kyphosis (T7 - T8)
  • back pain involving the lower lumbar spine when excessive lordosis is present
  • can be seen in patients who have had rickets when small

Kyphosis is often termed a "hunch back" because of the rounded flattened shoulders when viewed from the sides.

Since the lumbar curve/column supports all the weight above it, it is this part of the column that commonly adjusts to forward and backward movements and shifts in the line of gravity.

Kyphosis shifts the line forward, with the resulting tendency to fall forward and is most easily overcome by an increase in the lumbar region (lordosis). It may be noted that occasionally the cervical spine can have a kyphotic curvature.

Thoracic Kyphosis is usually seen with drooping of the shoulders and the head being carried too far forward, in front of the line of the body.

Lack of proper posture - lazy posture as well as poorly-balanced work with ones arms, can lead to kyphosis. However, the pain resulting from this is very slow to come manifesting itself across the top of the shoulders giving an unpleasant pain at the angle of the neck. This pain tends to be more severe on the dominant side of one's body. It is increased through stress and by carrying heavy items.

The greatest problem is to be found by carrying one's head too far forward in front of the line of gravity. Either side of the neck the trapezium muscles running down from the base of the skull across the shoulders, brace the shoulder blades, keeping the head back in line with the shoulders.Thus, when the head falls forward they are acting like the reins of a horse, trying to pull back the head retracted in line with the shoulders.

The constant postural strain causes the muscles to develop a low-grade persistent spasm, the long-term spasm of the trapezium muscles can cause immobility of the chest. The tension of the harness keeps the vertebra of the neck and the thoracic. Permanently tightened up so that the section of the spine underlying the muscles compresses and hardly even loses flexibility.

Powerful arm work may increase kyphosis, by compressing the mobility of the chest and cause the shoulders to permanently hunch forward. One may even observe a sunken chest in affected people. The pectoral muscles fan-shaped spread across the shoulders/chest walls are responsible for this affliction.

Tight pectoral muscles may also influence the ability of the chest to expand, thereby pinching the shoulders and accentuate the severe forward movement of the neck.

Exercise for a Scoliotic Back

Stretching of hamstrings followed by a regimen of exercises given by your practitioner.

Deep Tissue and Cranio-Sacral Therapy are two mordalities that will aid in decreasing the Kyphotic curvature.

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