Chiropractic Care for Kyphosis
Abnormal kyphosis may cause a hump like appearance in the upper back
Chiropractic care is a nonsurgical treatment option for kyphosis. It can help treat pain, stiffness, and other kyphosis symptoms. The classic sign of kyphosis is a rounded (hump-like) middle back. Generally, the initial step in chiropractic treatment for kyphosis is to determine the cause of the abnormal middle back appearance.
The most common cause of kyphosis is poor posture. But you can be born with kyphosis (called congenital kyphosis). You can also develop kyphosis due to a trauma or a certain disease, such as Scheuermann’s disease. Your chiropractor will determine the exact cause of your kyphosis and develop a treatment plan for you based on what’s causing your kyphosis.
How Does a Chiropractor Diagnose Kyphosis?
To help determine the diagnosis of kyphosis, at your initial appointment, your chiropractor will ask about your medical history and do a physical examination. You may also need imaging tests, such as x-rays.
He or she may also use techniques called motion and static palpation (an examination by means of touch) to feel for tenderness, tightness, and how well your spinal joints move.
What Can Chiropractic Care Do for Kyphosis?
If your kyphosis is caused by poor posture, your chiropractor may be able to help you reduce the “hump” by teaching you better posture.
Even if your kyphosis isn’t associated with posture, chiropractic care for kyphosis can:
- address inflammation
- decrease muscle spasms
- help maintain the health of your spine
- optimize motion in the spine by improving muscular strength
- reduce chronic pain
- slow the process of degeneration in the middle back
- treat the intervertebral discs
Chiropractic Treatments for Kyphosis
Your chiropractor may use a type of spinal manipulation—also called a spinal adjustment—to improve joint motion. Spinal manipulation is an active, hands-on treatment, and there are multiple variations of this technique.
- Specific spinal manipulation helps your chiropractor identify restricted joints or those that show abnormal motion. Using a gentle thrusting technique, he or she can rapidly stretch soft tissue and stimulate the nervous system to return normal motion to the spine.
- Flexion-distraction technique is a gentle, non-thrusting spinal manipulation that is used for people with kyphosis that is associated with degenerative disc disease and/or motion restrictions in the thoracic spine (mid-back).
- Instrument-assisted manipulation is another non-thrusting spinal manipulation. Your chiropractor uses a hand-held instrument to apply force without thrusting into the spine.
Manual therapy treatments are also sometimes used to treat injured ligaments and/or muscles.
- Trigger point therapy helps the chiropractor identify specific tight, painful points on a muscle. He or she places direct pressure on these points to relieve tension.
- Manual joint stretching and resistance techniques can help reduce kyphosis symptoms. Muscle energy therapy—an osteopathic technique—is an example of a resistance manual joint therapy.
- Instrument-assisted soft tissue therapy can help treat any injured tissues. Your chiropractor may use Graston technique—an instrument-assisted therapy—in which he or she performs gentle repeated strokes of the instrument over the muscle injury.
The chiropractor may also use other treatments to help reduce inflammation caused by kyphosis.
- Interferential electrical stimulation uses a low frequency electrical current to stimulate muscles to decrease inflammation.
- Ultrasound helps ease muscle spasms, stiffness, and pain. It works by sending sound waves deep into muscle tissues, creating a gentle heat to enhance circulation.
In addition, your chiropractor may prescribe therapeutic exercises to help restore normal spinal motion. He or she will teach you exercises you can do to help you manage kyphosis symptoms.