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Hyperkyphosis: what is it, main causes and treatments

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Dorsal hyperkyphosis is the exaggerated curvature of the vertebral column in the dorsal region. On certain occasions, this curvature can be very pronounced and give an aspect of “jorobado”, and the person can also present the body, head and shoulders very inclined towards the front.

The hyperkyphosis can be the only serious alteration of the column; however, it can also occur as a way to compensate for other postural disorders, such as hyperlordosis or scoliosis. For this reason, it is important that each case is evaluated by an orthopedist and a physical therapist so that the treatment is carried out in accordance with the characteristics presented by the individual.

Hypercifosis tends to worsen with the age if no treatment is carried out, there may be pain in the back, deformity in the spine and difficulty in keeping the body up and the head up or behind. Asimism, hyperkyphosis can compromise breathing by decreasing lung expansion and spine flexibility.



main causes

According to the cause, hyperkyphosis can be classified as follows:

  • congenital: that when the baby was born with this alteration in the column, the one that tends to get worse with the time, so many times a surgical intervention is needed in the first years of life;
  • Acquired: occurs as a result of diseases such as osteomyelitis, osteoporosis or trauma, for example;
  • Posture: Occurs due to poor postural habits, which can be corrected while maintaining a good posture. The treatment of this injury is carried out through postural correction, muscle strengthening of the extensors and, in case of overweight, diet.

Thus, some of the causes that may favor the emergence of congenital hyperkyphosis, acquired or postural are the following:

  • Psychological problems, how low self-esteem or depression;
  • Bad postural habits, how to remain seated with el cuerpo encorvado hacia adelante;
  • Lack of physical conditioning which causes weakness of the paravertebral muscles, located on the side of the spine, and of the abdominal muscles;
  • Trauma in the spine due to an accident;
  • Fracture by vertebral compensation;
  • Due to illnesses such as ankylosing spondylitis, senile osteoporosis or tumors;
  • birth defects that may be associated with neurological syndromes.

Hyperkyphosis is more common in teenagers who grow much faster and are taller than their peers of the same age, which can cause feelings of vergüenza, and also in older people due to bone changes, such as arthritis or osteoporosis, for example.

How is the diagnosis

The diagnosis of hyperkyphosis is performed by the orthopedist, based mainly on the observation of the curvature of the column. For this, it is necessary that the person puts himself aside so that the doctor can evaluate if there are alterations. Asimism is usually indicated by the doctor to carry out imaging tests, such as lateral radiography, so that the Cobb angle can be evaluated and, in this way, the severity of the alteration can be determined.



The normal angle of thoracic kyphosis varies between 20 and 40 degrees, without having an absolute value, and the need for treatment occurs when there is more than 50 degrees of kyphosis. To take this measurement, the angle between the C7 and T12 vertebrae must be considered.

How is the treatment performed?

The treatment of hyperkyphosis must be established according to its severity, therefore it is necessary to carry out an image exam to determine the degree of alteration of the curvature of the column. Depending on the severity and the cause of the hyperkyphosis, the treatment can be carried out through physical therapy and, in the most severe cases, surgery.

1. General exercises for hyperkyphosis

Exercises are recommended in cases of mild hyperkyphosis, when the person has pain or discomfort in the middle part of the back and the shoulders are drooping beforehand.

On these occasions, the most suitable exercises to correct hyperkyphosis are swimming, weight training and hydrogymnasia, which can help to strengthen the back muscles and improve physical conditioning.

Also see certain examples of exercises to improve posture.

2. Physiotherapy for hyperkyphosis

Physical therapy for hyperkyphosis can be carried out with measures that provide relief from pain, such as the use of hot compresses and stretching exercises, for example. Asimism, spinal manipulation techniques and specific exercises for hyperkyphosis should be indicated by the physiotherapist to meet the needs of each person.

The best kinesiotherapy exercises for hyperkyphosis are global postural reeducation (RPG) and the clinical and Pilates exercises water Pilates (Aquatic Pilates) isostretching and hydrotherapy, guided by the physiotherapist. These have achieved excellent results in the correction of hypercyphosis and posture.

3. Surgery for hyperkyphosis

Surgery is indicated, particularly, in people who have congenital hyperkyphosis, which when the deformity is present since birth, usually associated with some genetic syndrome. It can also be an option in people who have neurological symptoms or persistent pain in the middle of the back, such as occurs in Scheuermann’s illness, a common disorder in male adolescents, whenever they present more than 70 degrees of hyperkyphosis, can when the angle is smaller, the treatment with physiotherapy achieves excellent results.

Does hyperkyphosis have a cure?

Hyperciphosis can be cured and can be achieved through the treatment, which must be carried out according to the seriousness, which may include physiotherapy sessions, regular exercise, maintenance of a good posture and, in the most serious cases, it is possible to resort surgery to straighten the vertebrae.

Asimism, the use of orthopedic mattresses, postural shawls and custom-made plants help in the treatment and are beneficial to obtain better results.

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Consult a Doctor | Translated by User2937

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