What is kyphosis?
When a person has a so-called convex curvature at the level of the thoracic spine, it is called kyphosis, colloquially better known as a hump. Kyphosis is a form of scoliosis (abnormal curvature of the spine).
Depending on individual anatomical characteristics, a kyphosis can be more or less pronounced. If a kyphosis is very pronounced, it is also called hyperkyphosis. Incidentally, if the spine curves in the opposite direction, i.e. forwards, in the area of the cervical and lumbar spine, this is called lordosis or hyperlordosis, better known as hollow back.
How does kyphosis develop?
Kyphosis can have various causes. In the course of the Evolution humans have developed into creatures that walk upright on two legs. Our entire anatomy and musculoskeletal system have adapted to this over thousands of years. However, due to technological progress (especially in industrialised countries), people move too little or in the wrong way, and on top of that they sit too much, which makes it difficult for many to maintain a natural - upright! - posture. In the long run, this can lead to wear and tear of the intervertebral discs and thus to the formation of kyphosis.
In older people, kyphosis can also be a Osteoporosis cause of kyphosis. In this case, the porous vertebral bodies more or less collapse (one also speaks of sintering fractures), which can cause the kyphosis to form. If kyphosis is congenital, the disease becomes noticeable in early childhood.
What kind of kyphoses are there?
There are different types of kyphosis. The most common form is postural kyphosis, in which incorrect posture (or, as mentioned, osteoporosis) leads to a curvature of the back. However, there is also congenital kyphosis, in which the spine is malformed in the womb before birth, or kyphosis that develops in early childhood as a result of malnutrition. Furthermore, diseases such as Scheuermann's disease (Scheuermann's kyphosis) or Bechterew's disease can lead to kyphosis.
How do you treat kyphosis?
Depending on the cause of the kyphosis and the severity of the curvature, there are different approaches to therapy. In order to relieve and stabilise a spine, the affected person can wear an individually made corset (also called an orthosis). In severe cases, surgery is performed to stabilise the spine. Last but not least - and in fact in all cases - physiotherapy is appropriate, as special gymnastic exercises can strengthen the back muscles very well and reduce pain.
Can kyphosis be prevented?
Standing for too long, an incorrect sitting posture, for example when working at the computer, and a lack of movement can result in a hunchback in the long run or make it worse. That is why it is important to ensure correct, straight posture from an early age. Regular sport and back exercises train the back muscles. Ergonomic office chairs that provide natural movement even when sitting, such as the 3Dee or Swopper from Aeris, can also be used to support this.