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!

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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.

Hyperkyphosis is a spinal disorder which refers to the excessive forward curvature of the upper back. Hyperkyphosis is usually diagnosed once the curvature reaches over 50 degrees; prior to that, it is just known as kyphosis and does not typically require treatment.

What is a hyperkyphosis brace? 

A hyperkyphosis brace is a form of treatment to rectify a spinal curvature in adolescents. These braces are not usually recommended for adults as the spine stops growing once adulthood is reached and it would not provide any benefits. The brace is used to help straighten the spine and help strengthen the back. A hyperkyphosis brace usually straightens the spine, pulls the shoulders back and allows the chin to sit upright.

Kyphosis Brace

The hyperkyphosis brace also takes the pressure off the spine and encourages it to grow in a more upright position. Every spine typically has a slight amount of curvature, but as hyperkyphosis can cause health issues bracing is required to avoid these further complications.

When is a hyperkyphosis brace needed? 

Once the degree of the curvature surpasses 50 degrees a Hyperkyphosis brace may be needed. Hyperkyphosis can occur at any age and can even occur before birth. This is known as congenital kyphosis and means several vertebra fuse together or the spinal bones do not form properly. In this case, treatment such as using a hyperkyphosis brace is needed from a very young age.

Scheuermann’s and bad posture are also causes of this condition. If these forms of hyperkyphosis develop before adulthood, hyperkyphosis braces can be used to stunt the progression of the spinal curve.

How long do you have to wear a hyperkyphosis brace?

Depending on the severity of the case, you may be required to wear a hyperkyphosis brace for the most part of every day. If worn from a young age, it may be possible to stop wearing the brace once your spine has stopped growing. This is typically around the age of 16-18 for girls and 18-20 for boys.

If the curvature is mild, a hyperkyphosis brace may need to be worn for less time but this should be discussed with your doctor beforehand.

Here at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic, we help patients with all different types of spinal disorders, from scoliosis to hyperkyphosis. Our treatment course provides patients with a non-surgical alternative and allows the spine to improve through physical therapy. You can take a look at the results of our ScolioGold course here.

If you’re interested in a non-surgical alternative for your hyperkyphosis, you can book an initial consultation with us today. We look forward to hearing from you.

Hyperkyphosis Treatment

Whereas scoliosis is a sideways curvature of the spine, hyperkyphosis is the medical term for an excessive forward spinal curve. This causes the top of the back to become more rounded than usual - you might know this condition as 'dowager's hump' or simply a 'hunchback'.

Hyperkyphosis can develop due to bad posture (postural kyphosis), as the result of another underlying condition (such as Scheuermann’s disease), or because of spinal fractures. Hyperkyphosis is considered severe if the curve angle exceeds 45 degrees, but even mild cases can cause back pain, stiffness, fatigue, and a number of other symptoms. As with scoliosis, there are a number of different hyperkyphosis treatment methods in use, including both surgical and non-surgical options.

Non-surgical hyperkyphosis treatments

Bracing

During adolescence, bracing may be required to stunt the progression of the hyperkyphosis in moderate to severe cases. Bracing aims to ensure that the degree of the curvature does not develop any further than it already has. The patient may be required to continue wearing the brace until their spine stops growing at around 16 years of age.

Pain management

As is the case for many health problems, pain management is often a central part of hyperkyphosis treatment. Painkillers such as ibuprofen or paracetamol can help to relieve the aches and pains that derive from having a curvature of the spine. If the patient is in a lot of pain, stronger pain relief medications may be prescribed.

Physical therapy

Though it does require some work on the patient’s part, physiotherapy is a great way to treat hyperkyphosis. Physical therapy courses such as our own ScolioGold method can straighten the back, reduce pain, and improve the patient's quality of life in general - see before and after photos here.

Surgical hyperkyphosis treatment

If the curvature becomes so severe that the patient is having difficulty going about their day, surgical methods of hyperkyphosis treatment become available. Hyperkyphosis surgery corrects the appearance of the curvature, but there is also a small risk that it will lead to further complications such as infection, nerve damage or even - in a tiny minority of cases - paralysis.

Spinal fusion is the standard surgical procedure for hyperkyphosis. This involves fusing the vertebrae together to correct the spine's curvature. Method rods, screws, hooks and bone grafts are used during the operation to fuse the bones together. According to the NHS, the operation takes 4-8 hours, and a back brace may need to be worn for up to 9 months while your spine heals.

Here at Scoliosis SOS, we provide non-surgical physiotherapy courses for those suffering from scoliosis and hyperkyphosis. If this sounds like something that could help you improve your condition, please don't hesitate to get in touch today.