Poor Posture: Hyperkyphosis
The “Condition of the Month” at Empowered Chiropractic Pain Relief & Wellness Center is poor posture, specifically the forward flexion of the thoracic spine, known as hyperkyphosis.
Hyperkyphosis is the term given to an accentuated thoracic spinal curvature, which in adults, means a thoracic curve above 60°. The most common cause is over “slouching” while using computers and hand-held devices. Hyperkyphosis can also be seen with fractures of the spine and/or osteoporosis (loss of bone density). The classic sign of kyphosis is a rounded (hump-like) middle back. You can also develop hyperkyphosis due to a trauma or a certain disease, such as Scheuermann’s disease.
How Does A Chiropractor Diagnose Hyperkyphosis?
To help determine the diagnosis of kyphosis, at your initial appointment, your chiropractor will ask about your medical history and do a physical examination, which includes an EMG scan and a digital posture analysis. The EMG scan is a thermographic study of the spinal nerve roots. If needed, she will recommend an x-ray which allows for a very detailed look at the spine.
She may also use techniques called motion and static palpation (an examination by means of touch) to feel for tenderness, tightness, and how well your spinal joints move.
What Can Chiropractic Care Do for Hyperkyphosis?
If your kyphosis is caused by poor posture, your chiropractor may be able to help you reduce the “hump” by teaching you better posture and exercises.
Even if your kyphosis isn’t associated with posture, chiropractic care for kyphosis can:
- address inflammation
- decrease muscle spasms
- help maintain the health of your spinal alignment
- optimize motion in the spine by improving muscular strength
- reduce chronic pain
- slow the process of degeneration in the middle back
- treat the intervertebral discs
Chiropractic Adjustments for Hyperkyphosis
Your chiropractor may use a type of spinal adjustment to improve joint motion. Spinal adjustment is an active, hands-on treatment, and there are multiple variations of this technique depending on individual needs.
Specific spinal adjustment helps your chiropractor identify restricted joints or those that show abnormal motion. Using a gentle thrusting technique, she can rapidly stretch soft tissue and stimulate the nervous system to return normal motion to the spine.
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Flexion-distraction technique is a gentle, non-thrusting spinal adjustment that is used for people with hyperkyphosis that is associated with degenerative disc disease and/or motion restrictions in the thoracic spine (mid-back).
Instrument-assisted adjustment is another non-thrusting spinal adjustment. Your chiropractor uses a hand-held instrument to apply force without thrusting into the spine.
Manual therapy treatments are also sometimes used to treat injured ligaments and/or muscles.
Trigger point therapy helps the chiropractor identify specific tight, painful points on a muscle. She places direct pressure on these points to relieve tension.
Manual joint stretching and resistance techniques can help reduce hyperkyphosis symptoms. Muscle energy therapy—an osteopathic technique—is an example of a resistance manual joint therapy.
Instrument-assisted soft tissue therapy can help treat any injured tissues. Your chiropractor may use Graston technique—an instrument-assisted therapy—in which she performs gentle repeated strokes of the instrument over the muscle injury.
In addition, your chiropractor Danville may prescribe therapeutic exercises to help restore normal spinal motion. She will teach you exercises you can do to help you manage hyperkyphosis symptoms.
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