Photo credit: nlm.nih.gov
Have you ever heard of the Hunchback of Notre Dame? This was a movie that came out in 1939.
The movie is about a beautiful gypsy girl who is framed for a murder. It’s the hunchback of Notre Dame who saves her. This movie introduced the concept of kyphosis to the general population.
In the movie, the hunchback has a hump on his upper back. When you look at him from the side, you can clearly see the hump almost looking as if it were the hump of a camel.
What is Kyphosis?
What is that hump? What is kyphosis? It’s actually a deviation of the spine. Instead of the spine being straight, it curves to form the deformity.
Now for just a moment, think of what that deformity does to someone’s height. It shrinks them! And if they could eliminate the deformity, their height would increase.
The deformity of kyphosis doesn’t make anyone into a monster. And kyphosis doesn’t have to be as bad as the kyphosis seen in the Hunchback of Notre Dame.
Postural Kyphosis Should Be Avoided at All Costs
Kyphosis can be postural kyphosis, due to bad posture. In fact, knowing what the Hunchback of Notre Dame looked like and posting a little picture of him on your computer screen may be enough motivation for you to improve your posture so that you don’t end up with a kyphosis.
It’s our daily habits that can easily turn into more serious problems such as postural kypphosis.
For example, if you sit in your chair at your desk with your tailbone forward instead of back towards the back of the chair, it throws off the rest of your posture.
Then if you add another component – that of sticking out your neck like a turtle toward the computer screen, you have now started to cause degenerative changes that can lead in the direction of postural kyphosis.
You have to spend time improving your posture for this type of kyphosis treatment. And that takes doing different types of exercises for kyphosis. Here are two of them.
1. Scapula Squeeze
One type of exercise for kyphosis could be the Scapula Squeeze. In this exercise, you pull your shoulders backwards trying to squeeze the shoulder blades (scapula) together.
This strengthens the muscles that help keep the upper part of your back in alignment with the rest of your spine.
2. Neck Mobility Exercise
Another type of exercise for kyphosis may focus on cervical kyphosis. This is where the hump of the spine is more in the neck region, not like what you see in the Hunchback of Notre Dame.
In this exercise, you will increase the range of motion of your neck in every direction. Don’t get crazy and try to push yourself to the limits! Instead, do this:
a. Bring your neck slowly down to your chest. Then bring it up towards the ceiling.
b. Next from a neutral position of looking forward, turn your neck slowly to one side, hold it at the end point of motion, then return to neutral and do the other side.
c. Starting with neutral position again, bring your ear down towards your right shoulder, and back to neutral again. Then do the same with the left shoulder.
Anyone Can Develop a Kyphosis During Life
Kyphosis can also be caused by a trauma. For example, some people in car accidents suffer from fractured vertebrae and herniated disks in their thoracic spine.
When a disk is herniated and a vertebrae is fractured, that fracture may show up on x-ray as a collapsed vertebrae.
The problem is that the vertebrae may not collapse equally on all sides. Instead, if one side collapses leaving the other side intact, now you have a wedge-shaped vertebral body.
Nothing holds up the side of that vertebrae that collapsed and now the structure of the whole spine is changed forever. The kyphosis starts to show up in the outward appearance of the person, and there’s a lot of pain because of all the changes that are occurring.
The muscles have to work extra hard, the tendons are overstretched, as well as the ligaments. This causes the pain felt with kyphosis that occurs from a trauma.
Kyphosis Treatment Will Always Include Exercises that Improve Posture
What does a doctor due for kyphosis treatment? In this case, a new type of kyphosis treatment was created about a decade ago.
During surgery, a wedge is inserted where the vertebrae collapsed. The wedge now holds up the vertebrae and the kyphosis is restored.
I’ve seen how this type of surgery can actually eliminate the kyphosis and bring back a normal appearance to the spine. It also returns the person’s height to close to normal.
What a wonderful stroke of genius this is to have conceived of this type of treatment! It has already helped many people.
Steroid-Induced Kyphosis is Similar to What Happens in a Trauma
Steroids are often used in patients who have a lot of inflammation. Steroids are a quick way to reduce inflammation.
But there’s a downside to steroids. When used for a long time, they contribute to the breakdown of collagen and osteoporosis, or porous bones.
When osteoporosis sets in, one little trigger can collapse the vertebrae. That little trigger could be something as simple as opening a window!
And again, as in the case of a trauma, that little trigger can break a vertebrae that does not collapse evenly. Soon kyphosis sets in and the hump seen in the Hunchback of Notre Dame occurs.
Meanwhile the steroids are also causing a decrease in the collagen of the face and the person starts aging rapidly. Soon the person no longer wants to look in the mirror!
It’s not uncommon that someone ages 20 years after taking steroids for 18 months.
Kyphosis Treatment for Steroid-Induced Kyphosis
At this point, the person absolutely must do kyphosis exercises as well as see the doctor to find out if the wedge surgery can be performed.
Improve your posture. One book I recommend is called the Perfect Posture Program.
It’s an excellent place to start.