The human spine has a shape similar to the letter ‘S’ when it is looked at from the side. It can primarily be divided into three major regions: lumbar spine (lower back), thoracic spins (middle/upper back), cervical spine (upper back/neck).
Thoracic kyphosis is a spinal deformity in which the thoracic region of the spine presents an exaggerated outward curvature, leading to an unnatural shape of the spine, and possibly other symptoms such as back pain and stiffness.
In a large number of cases, it is fairly mild and presents no symptoms, other than a visible bump in the thoracic spine region.
Consequently, there are a variety of treatments available for this condition, depending on its causes, as well as severity.
Causes of Thoracic Kyphosis
The causes of this medical condition vary depending on the type of kyphosis a person suffers from.
There are three main types of kyphosis that have been identified. They are:
- Postural kyphosis
As the name suggests, postural kyphosis results from poor posture. Bad habits such as frequent slouching, sitting incorrectly in a chair for long periods of time, as well as having incorrect posture/form when lifting weights can take a toll on your spine, and in time may lead to the development or worsening of kyphosis.
- Congenital kyphosis
This is a type of kyphosis that occurs due to abnormal development of the spine, while a person forms in the womb. It is a condition that is present from birth.
- Scheuermann kyphosis
Scheuermann kyphosis or Scheuermann disease, is a condition where the patient has unusually shaped vertebrae, that can grow into a structure that is wedge shaped, as opposed to the natural tubular, or cylindrical shape.
People with kyphosis may not experience any symptoms, especially if their condition is on the milder side. However, those who do experience symptoms typically have any of the following:
- Visible deformity of the spine, especially of the thoracic spine. This deformity gives the appearance of a rounded upper back, or hunchback.
- Back pain. The spinal misalignment that results because of kyphosis can place increased stress on the spine and lead to pain
- Stiffness in the back
In severe cases, kyphosis may lead to spinal cord compression, which in itself leads to a range of symptoms, including pain, stiffness of the back, tingling, and numbness.
Additionally, another possible complication that can develop as a result of untreated severe kyphosis is loss of bladder and bowel control.
Kyphosis tends to go about unnoticed as it doesn’t always cause symptoms, and therefore don’t seek medical advice.
For some, it might not even be apparent that their thoracic spine presents an unusual curvature when they look in the mirror.
However, regardless of the process of discovering that one might suffer from thoracic kyphosis, it must be mentioned the process of diagnosing kyphosis is rather straightforward.
It usually starts with a physical exam where a specialist will check for any visible abnormalities of the spine, in this case any deformities of the thoracic spine. Some additional tests might be required to measure the extent (angle of the curvature) of the condition, as well as to rule out any other possibilities for an unusual curvature of the spine.
Mild kyphosis, where the abnormal curvature is under 45 degrees, can typically be treated without any surgical intervention, if it causes any symptoms to the patient.
Some non-surgical treatment options for kyphosis include:
- Anti-inflammatory medication to manage back pain. Although medication might be effective in the short-term, it is not recommended for long-term use. Additionally, this is less of a form of treatment, and rather a form of pain management. It does not help correct the spinal deformity from kyphosis.
- Physical therapy may help restore mobility in your spine, and also strengthen the muscles that support your spine. This may be especially helpful for postural kyphosis, as correcting a poor posture may result in the correction of the kyphosis itself.
- Back support braces for people who suffer from congenital kyphosis. Braces are recommended to be worn by those who have been born with kyphosis, and whose bones are still developing and growing.
- An alternative approach is to use a spinal decompression device, that restores the natural curvature of your spine, corrects kyphosis, and takes away the symptoms
Spinal Backrack Technology
If you want to restore the natural shape of your spine and take your recovery from thoracic kyphosis to the next level, try the Spinal Backrack!
It’s a patented class I medical device, can help you become pain free without causing any side effects. It has been carefully engineered by the brightest minds on Harley Street to give you the best possible comfort and results.
Its aim is to treat kyphosis from the source. By following specific exercise programs using the Backrack, you can decompress your spine, relieve pressure in your back, restore mobility to the cervical spine and leave your symptoms in the past!
Surgery has been previously mentioned as a treatment option, and while it is not being completely ruled out, caution should be exercised. This form of correcting kyphosis should only be reserved for the most severe of cases, that have either failed to respond to more conservative forms of treatment, or where the patient’s symptoms are so severe that they have an immeasurable negative impact upon their life.