Kyphosis explained!


Kyphosis is a curvature of the spine that causes the top of the back to appear more rounded than normal.  Everyone has some degree of curvature in their spine. However, a curve of more than 45 degrees is considered excessive.

Sometimes kyphosis doesn’t cause any symptoms other than the back appearing abnormally curved or hunched. However, in some cases the condition causes:

  • Back pain and stiffness
  • Tenderness of the spine
  • Tiredness

Your spine is made up of three segments. When viewed from the side, these segments form three natural curves. The “c-shaped” curves of the neck (cervical spine) and lower back (lumbar spine) are called lordosis. The “reverse c-shaped” curve of the chest (thoracic spine) is called kyphosis.

This natural curvature of the spine is important for balance and helps us to stand upright. If any one of the curves becomes too large or too small, it becomes difficult to stand up straight and our posture appears abnormal.

There are several types of kyphosis. The four that are most common are:-

  • Congenital kyphosis
  • Scheuermann’s kyphosis
  • Postural kyphosis
  • Age related

Congenital Kyphosis

This is present at birth.  It occurs when the spinal column fails to develop normally in the womb.  If something disrupts the spine’s normal development, the bones may not form as they should or two or more vertebrae sometimes fuse together

Scheuermann’s Kyphosis

This particular condition is named after the Danish radiologist who first described the condition.  It often becomes apparent during the teen years.

It is caused by a structural abnormality in the spine.  An x-ray from the side will show that, rather than the normal rectangular shape, several consecutive vertebrae have a more triangular shape. This irregular shape causes the vertebrae to wedge together toward the front of the spine, decreasing the normal disk space and creating an exaggerated forward curvature in the upper back.

Postural Kyphosis

This is the most common type of kyphosis, and usually becomes noticeable during adolescence. It is noticed clinically as poor posture or slouching, but is not associated with severe structural abnormalities of the spine.  Slouching, leaning back in chairs and carrying heavy bags can stretch supporting muscles and ligaments, which can increase spinal curvature.  It can be corrected with postural exercises.

Age Related

As people get older, their spinal curvature can increase, usually due to osteoporosis.  This bone thinning disorder can cause spinal curvature, especially if weakened vertebrae result in compression fractures

Fortunately, there are options for correcting this condition and Chiropractic treatment is one of these options that focuses on treating patients all naturally. Chiropractic treatment may alleviate the pain and stiffness that comes with the condition, as well as correct poor posture. Adjusting the spinal area may improve the joints’ range of motion. Regular adjustments may help reduce inflammation, muscle spasm, chronic pain and slow down the speed of degeneration.

If you are suffering from kyphosis or would like some further information or would like to speak to a member of our team please call us on: Hitchin 01462 420077 or Luton 01582 579687, alternatively e-mail us at: or

Peter Heale Chiropractor in Hitchin and LutonFrom the team at Heale's Chiropractic Clinics
Over 30 years of helping people in Hitchin and Luton and the surrounding areas of Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire

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