Most people have a slightly rounded curvature of the upper back. This natural curve is referred to as the thoracic kyphosis. It is designed to distribute body weight and absorb compressive stress while providing central body support and flexibility.
The natural curves of the spine are referred to as kyphosis (outwards) or lordosis (inwards). Neither of these terms automatically signify a disorder. Kyphosis curvatures that are extreme are abnormal and usually lead to pain and dysfunction. Lordosis curves form the cervical and lumbar spine segments. The Kyphosis curve is the outward curvature of the mid and upper back. These curvatures are vital for the optimal spine function and provide the central support structure of the human body. The spine protects the central nerve system and transmits nerve impulses to command entire body functions.
When an individual suffers from abnormal kyphosis, they have an increased curvature of the upper back. This causes the neck to lean forward and creates the appearance of a rounded back. There are two types of kyphosis: postural kyphosis, which is caused by poor posture and may often be corrected with core strength training and posture management. Structural kyphosis, which is caused by structural spine disorders may require more invasive and aggressive treatment for correction.
What can cause abnormal kyphosis?
There are a variety of factors that can cause kyphosis. These causes can vary depending on whether you are suffering from postural or structural kyphosis. The primary cause of postural kyphosis is prolonged sitting in an unsupported position. This causes the spine to curve extremely and can result in permanent changes of the upper back. This leads to neck pain and headaches due to the forward head position coupled with compression that gravity imparts to the head. Muscles are recruited for support and often become rigid and painful. This generally leads to chronic upper back pain, neck pain and tension type headaches. Individuals can improve postural kyphosis with core strengthening exercises. Core management and lumbar support while sitting are also effective steps to correct seated posture. The chiropractic physician will assess and diagnose this spine condition and initiate an individual treatment plan for spine correction and future prevention.
Structural kyphosis, on the other hand, is more difficult to correct. This disorder may occur due to pre-existing problems with the spine. A common example is an incompletely formed spine segment referred to as congenital spine defect. Spine fractures may also cause an increased thoracic curvature. This may be due to trauma. Other conditions that contribute to abnormal thoracic curves are: osteoporosis, degenerative changes of the spine joints and intervertebral discs due to osteoarthritis. Structural kyphosis may require a multidisciplinary approach to adequately and safely assess and treat.
How to treat abnormal kyphosis?
Chiropractic treatment allows for non-surgical options towards improving your spine health. Chiropractic treatment can be your first step towards better posture and reduced pain. When you visit the chiropractic office, the first step will be to determine the cause of your pain and from there, your chiropractor will develop a personalized treatment plan.
When you're ready to undergo an examination, a chiropractor will be able to conduct three tests to decide whether you are suffering from kyphosis or not.
- Physical exam: The chiropractor will palpate and observe your spine and also test your range of motion. These movements of the spine will be difficult for anyone suffering from kyphosis.
- Nervous system exam: The chiropractor will assess your reflexes and muscle strength to determine how well nerve impulses are traveling between your spinal cord and extremities. If there are abnormalities in the spine, they will disrupt these connections.
- An imaging test: The chiropractor will take x-rays of your spine to determine the degree of curvature and detect any deformities.
Why should you receive treatment for back pain?
Neglecting to receive treatment for any type of back pain increases the likelihood of contracting a serious abnormality. If you feel that you are experiencing unusual back or neck pain, it is always a good idea to make an appointment with a chiropractic physician to determine if there are underlying issues that may be treated effectively. Not only will your posture improve but alleviating your spine from unwanted pressures will improve your overall health.
Chiropractic care will address many issues associated with spinal abnormalities including: reducing inflammation, decreasing muscle spasms, maintaining the health of your spine, optimizing joint motion and alignment with adjustments, slowing the process of degeneration in the middle back, treating the intervertebral disks and managing chronic and acute pain naturally.
No matter what type of back pain you are experiencing, the best plan of action is to visit a chiropractor who can diagnose your condition and create a conservative treatment plan. Back pain has the capability to affect the entire body and lead to pain and dysfunction. In addition, adopting preventative tips to keep your body healthy is a great way to prevent future back disorders and maximize your health. Naturally!
At Auburn Chiropractic Associates, we strive to provide a personal approach to diagnosis and treatment . We will be happy to assist you and your family with your health concerns. We will be your partner as you strive to become the healthiest YOU! Please contact us today at 334-826-2225. We are committed to providing you with conservative, safe and effective treatment options.