Previously on the Scoliosis SOS blog, we have talked about some of the exercises that scoliosis sufferers can perform at home in order to combat their condition. But while these exercises work well on a sideways spinal curve, they may not be so effective if you suffer from hyperkyphosis - a forward curve of the upper (thoracic) spine.

We at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic treat each patient using a combination of non-surgical spinal techniques to ensure that all aspects of their condition are fully treated, without the use of a brace or spinal fusion surgery. To help you overcome your hyperkyphosis, we're going to run through a few exercises you can do at home that will help relieve some of your symptoms.

Please note that these stretches should not be used as a substitute for a full treatment course delivered by a chartered physiotherapist.

Superman Stretch

Superman Stretch

  1. Lie on your stomach and extend your hands in front of your head.
  2. Keeping your head in a neutral position, look towards the floor, and lift your legs and arms up towards the ceiling.
  3. Reach away from your body with your hands and feet.
  4. Hold this position for 3 seconds, and repeat 10 times.

 

Happy Cat Sad Cat Stretch

Happy Cat, Sad Cat Stretch

The goal of this stretch is to increase the mobility of your spine.

  1. On all fours, place your knees hip-width apart, with your hands under your shoulders. Keep your spine in a neutral position.
  2. Round your back, tuck your bottom under, and drop your head between your arms.
  3. Holding this position, inhale and try to curve your back even further to increase the stretch.
  4. Then, during exhalation, arch your back, stick your bottom out, and look up towards the ceiling.
  5. Repeat this cycle 10 times, using your breathing to help you slowly transition between the two positions.

 

Head Retraction Stretch

Head Retraction Stretch 

The goal of this exercise is to stretch and exercise weakened neck muscles.

  1. Lie down on the floor, and pull your chin in as if you were trying to make a double chin.
  2. Hold this for 15 seconds, and repeat five to ten times.

 

Chin Retraction Stretch

Chin Retraction Stretch

This exercise stretches your deep neck extensors.

  1. Stand up as straight as you can - you can do this against a wall if it helps. 
  2. Tuck your chin slightly, and bring your head back directly over your shoulders. 
  3. Bring own, and hold this position for 30 seconds - take a break if you begin to feel pain.

If you suffer from hyperkyphosis, please do not be afraid to contact us - we'd be overjoyed to help you overcome your condition with our non-surgical treatment regime.

Disclaimer: The above information should not be treated as medical advice and the scoliosis exercises described may not be suitable or beneficial for everyone. You should not begin any exercise routine without consulting a qualified health practitioner, particularly if you are pregnant, nursing, elderly, or if you have any chronic or recurring conditions. Any application of scoliosis exercises suggested is at the reader's sole discretion and risk. Scoliosis SOS accepts no responsibility or liability for any loss or injuries caused directly or indirectly through the performing of any exercises described. If you feel any discomfort or pain during exercise, stop immediately. Always consult your own GP if you are in any way concerned about your health or anything associated with it.

Susanne Henderson (a 69-year-old woman from Totnes, Devon) contacted the Scoliosis SOS Clinic in the hope that we'd be able to treat her hyperkyphosis. Read on to hear her story and how we were able to help her and reduce her spinal curve!

Hyperkyphosis case study

Susanne, unlike the majority of patients we treat here at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic, doesn't have scoliosis. Rather, she has a condition known as hyperkyphosis, characterised by an excessive forward curvature of the thoracic (upper) spine.

Susanne was diagnosed with hyperkyphosis following a series of accidents that gave her back a rounded shape and left her experiencing mild to moderate pain in her spine. When the medical professionals Susanne consulted didn't take her worries seriously enough, she decided to take it upon herself to find the treatment she needed.

Susanne contacted the Scoliosis SOS Clinic to enquire about our ScolioGold treatment programme. Although the corrective course is quite intensive, Susanne says that she has "coped very well", and that she appreciated being allowed to perform exercises at her own pace while still being pushed. When asked what she would say to other individuals with hyperkyphosis, Susanne recommended: "start taking action yourself and treat it before it gets worse".

As a result of the corrective exercises we have prescribed for Susanne, she says she's started to feel more "liberated, empowered and confident", and she is confident that she can carry on improving now that her ScolioGold course has come to an end.

To see a full account of Susanne's story, watch the video below:

If you have any questions about the Scoliosis SOS Clinic, or if you would like to book an initial consultation with us, please get in touch today!

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In November 2018, the Scoliosis SOS Clinic helped treat Matthew Ellison, a 31-year-old male from Devon who was diagnosed with hyperkyphosis and hyperlordosis following an injury. Here is his story!

Kyphosis and Lordosis Treatment

As Matthew explained to us, he had always noticed that his back had a rounded shape, particularly in the shoulder and thoracic region. During Matthew's early teenage years, his mother took him to the doctor to have his back looked at, and the doctor informed him that he would simply grow out of it.

As the years went by, however, Matthew saw that he hadn't grown out of it, and in his mid-to-late 20s he started to experience increased levels of discomfort and pain on a daily basis - and especially during sports participation. Things got worse for Matthew when he suffered an injury, which resulted in an X-ray scan and a recommendation for spinal fusion surgery. This was something that Matthew was not keen on at all and wanted to avoid, and so his doctor suggested that he could try a non-surgical treatment programme like the Schroth method. Matthew conducted some of his own research, and this eventually led him to the Scoliosis SOS Clinic.

Before reaching out to us, however, Matthew attempted to self-medicate his back problem with regular physical exercise in an effort to 'open up' the curve in his spine and strengthen his upper back muscles. Unfortunately, due to the injury that he had suffered, these exercises ended up making his spine worse. Matthew then sought professional help and undertook a 12-week physiotherapy course in the hope of correcting his spinal curvature; during this time, he was given simple instructions which helped with pain relief at the end of each day, but weren't enough to reduce the curve.

Matthew comes to the Scoliosis SOS Clinic

Matthew found the Scoliosis SOS Clinic's website via Google and decided to get in touch. After a simple phone call that answered a lot of Matthew's questions, he decided to undertake a 4-week ScolioGold course with us to help alleviate the problems that he was experiencing. Matthew was sceptical at first regarding the efficacy of group-based therapy, but was very impressed with the level of attention he received during his one-on-one sessions. The treatment that we provided comprised massage for pain relief and specific exercises that targeted the affected area of Matthew's spine.

Upon the conclusion of his treatment course, Matthew's hyperkyphosis and hyperlordosis had returned to within normal range. Not only was he no longer in pain, he had actually grown 3.8cm taller!

Matthew recommends the Scoliosis SOS Clinic to anyone experiencing back problems like his. Watch the video below for a full account of Matthew's story and to see how the Scoliosis SOS team were able to help him.

If you have any questions about the Scoliosis SOS Clinic, or if you would like to book an initial consultation with us, please get in touch today!

Contact Us >

Kyphosis

Hyperkyphosis is a curvature of the spine that occurs in the upper back, resulting in a hunched or stooped appearance. This condition is most commonly seen in older people, but it can affect people of all ages.

A kyphotic spinal curve can develop for a number of different reasons, and some forms of this condition are more preventable than others. Today, we'd like to take a look at some of the most common causes of hyperkyphosis and who they're most likely to affect.

Common causes of hyperkyphosis

  • Bad Posture - If you persistently slouch forward or lean back when seated, you may notice that your spine starts to develop a visible curvature over time. Desk workers are particularly prone to the sort of postural problems that can lead to hyperkyphosis.

  • Scheuermann's Disease - Scheuermann's disease typically occurs during the growth spurt that accompanies puberty. If you have this condition, it means that your vertebrae (the bones that make up your spine) develop into a wedge shape, creating a forward spinal curve. Click here to read more about Scheuermann's disease.

  • Congenital Issues - While rare, it is sometimes the case that a baby's spine will develop incorrectly in the womb, and this can mean that hyperkyphosis is visible from birth.

  • Osteoporosis & Osteopenia - Human beings - especially women - commonly lose bone density as they get older, a condition known as osteoporosis (or osteopenia in its milder form). The resulting bone weakness can lead to a range of different problems, including curvature of the spine. Click here to read more about osteoporosis.

  • Spinal Injury - Certain accidents and injuries can impact the spine, resulting in hyperkyphosis in some cases.

If you or a loved one suffer from hyperkyphosis, effective non-surgical treatment is available from the Scoliosis SOS Clinic in London. Click here to view before/after photos of our hyperkyphosis patients, or contact us now to arrange an initial consultation.

Further Reading: How to Prevent Hyperkyphosis

How Does Hyperkyphosis Affect the Body?

A person with hyperkyphosis can often be recognised by their visibly hunched back. This happens because the spine itself has curved forward for some reason - usually as a result of prolonged poor posture, ageing, fractures, or a condition like Scheuermann's disease.

However, this 'hunchback' appearance is just one of many ways in which hyperkyphosis can affect one's body. The condition's less outwardly visible symptoms include:

  • Back pain
  • Stiffness and discomfort
  • Reduced mobility/flexibility
  • Fatigue
  • Poor body image

But that's not all. A severe kyphotic spinal curve can even interfere with the body's most fundamental inner workings, such as the respiratory and digestive systems. Today, we're going to address three key questions about hyperkyphosis and its impact on the body - read on to find out more, or click here to read about treatment options for individuals with hyperkyphosis.

How does hyperkyphosis affect breathing?

If hyperkyphosis is not treated and the spinal curve continues to get worse over time, there is a risk that it may eventually begin to adversely affect the patient's ability to breathe. This happens because especially severe spinal deformities inevitably end up warping other parts of the skeleton, including the rib cage; this leaves the lungs with less room to inflate, resulting in compromised breathing.

How does hyperkyphosis affect the digestive system?

Severe hyperkyphosis can also impact on the patient's ability to digest food normally. Again, this is due to the knock-on effect that a pronounced spinal curve can have on other parts of the body. In the case of the digestive system, problems may arise because the patient's internal organs are being squashed together, potentially obstructing the passage of food through the intestines. Acid reflux is also fairly common among people with advanced hyperkyphosis.

How does hyperkyphosis affect the nervous system?

In some cases, the distortion of the body due to hyperkyphosis can end up impinging on a nerve. Depending on where in the body this happens, nerve compression can lead to:

  • Persistant aches/pains
  • Numbness or tingling sensations
  • Certain body parts feeling weak
  • Loss of bladder/bowel control

The good news is that all of these consequences are relatively rare and do not arise in the majority of mild to moderate cases of hyperkyphosis. However, if your condition is getting worse (i.e. your spinal curve is getting more and more pronounced), it is very important to seek treatment sooner rather than later to halt the progression of the curve and minimise the impact of your condition on your body.

Learn about hyperkyphosis treatment methods here, or contact us to arrange a hyperkyphosis consultation at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic.