Your spine and the muscle tissue surrounding it work together to provide the core support that your body relies on for basic movement. If you have been struggling with long-term back pain, mobility issues and headaches, your spine may be the source of the problem. Here is a look at what hyperkyphosis is and how it is treated.
What is Hyperkyphosis?
Hyperkyphosis is a term that refers to a significant curvature of your spine that causes your back to appear rounded when you stand. In some cases, you'll have few symptoms beyond a visible hunch in your posture, but in many cases, it can cause persistent back pain, stiffness and sensitivity in your spine. This pain is typically caused by your body trying to compensate for that curve.
What Can Cause Hyperkyphosis?
Hyperkyphosis can be caused by several things, from developmental defects to injuries. Here are the main causes.
- Postural Problems – poor posture can wreak havoc on your back. Persistent slouching, carrying heavy weights and leaning back on chair legs can all pull on the muscles and ligaments that support your vertebrae. Over time, this can cause those vertebrae to shift and curve.
- Developmental Problems – Whether your vertebrae don't develop properly and grow out of their proper position of you have a congenital birth defect that causes your vertebrae to fuse or grow improperly, these situations can also lead to hyperkyphosis.
- Spinal Injuries – serious spinal injuries can actually shift the vertebrae out of position or compress them, causing curvature such as hyperkyphosis.
What Does the Orthopedic Specialist Do for Diagnosis?
There are a few steps to a proper diagnosis for hyperkyphosis. When you meet with an orthopedic specialist about your back pain concerns, he or she will start with a physical exam, looking at your posture and your flexibility. You'll have to bend in several different directions so that he or she can see the shape of your spine and how it responds to movement. The orthopedic specialist from a site like http://www.towncenterorthopaedics.com will also evaluate your strength, both in your legs and in your spine.
Following the physical exam, you will probably have to have x-rays as well. The x-rays will show the doctor the actual position of your spine, both from the front and from a sideways position.
There are a variety of different treatment options for hyperkyphosis. In most cases, orthopedic professionals will start with more conservative methods, opting for stretches, exercise and pain medication.
Physical therapy can also be beneficial for managing hyperkyphosis. In most cases, visits to a physical therapist are a routine part of a solid rehabilitation plan. The therapist will try to help you gradually regain some muscle strength and mobility. This will not correct the spinal curve, but it can improve your muscle tone enough to help ease pain.
Braces are used in some cases to help hold the spine straight. For kids, this can sometimes correct the deformity as the spine continues to grow. Once you reach adulthood, the brace may offer some additional support, but will not reverse the problem.
For some adults, surgery may be suggested. Since surgery around your spine can be risky, it isn't considered except in cases where the anticipated benefit is expected to far outweigh any risks. Talk to your orthopedic specialist about the pros and cons before deciding if surgery is right for you.
In advanced stages, hyperkyphosis can cause muscle pain and discomfort. If you have been struggling with persistent back pain, it may be in your best interest to talk with a physician about an evaluation for hyperkyphosis. The sooner you identify the problem and start rehabilitation, the sooner you have a chance to see some pain relief.