jersey city physical therapy hyperkyphosis

Bad posture can lead to a change in the shape of the spine over time, but a course of Jersey City physical therapy can help correct the problem

by ggargiulo, February 13, 2018

If asked to describe the shape of their spine, the average person might say it’s straight. This is somewhat true, but only in appearance. When viewed directly behind the back on an X-ray, the spine does “appear” to be straight. But it actually has two very noticeable curves that can be seen when viewed from the side. A certain degree of curvature throughout the spine is completely normal and necessary, but too much of a curve can result in a problem called hyperkyphosis. Fortunately, a course of Jersey City physical therapy can address this issue and help to correct the shape of the spine.

The first curve of the spine is a gentle, outward rounding of the upper back that runs from the shoulders to the bottom of the ribcage, and it’s called the kyphotic curve. The other curvature, the lordotic curve, has an inward shape and runs from the mid-back to the lower back. Both of these curves are necessary in the normal spine to balance the trunk and head over the pelvis, but in some cases they can curve too far inward or outward.

The normal angle of the kyphotic curve is between 20-40°. When this angle approaches 40°, it’s called kyphosis, and when it increases past 40°, the condition is called hyperkyphosis. Hyperkyphosis is more common in older adults, but it can also occur in children and adolescents. One of the types of hyperkyphosis that affects younger populations is called postural hyperkyphosis.

Although there can be many causes of hyperkyphosis, postural hyperkyphosis is one of the most frequently seen types and as you might expect, it develops due to poor posture and too much slouching. Over time, keeping this type of bad posture will result in weakened muscles and ligaments of the spine and a noticeable hunching forward of the back (which is why the condition is often referred to as hunchback.) Children and adolescents who don’t do anything to address their posture are at risk for the condition developing into permanent alignment changes of the spine, which can create serious long-term complications.

How a course of Jersey City physical therapy can help

The good news is that in most cases, these postural impairments are flexible and will respond to a course of Jersey City physical therapy. Here’s what a typical treatment program for hyperkyphosis in adolescents consists of:

  • Pain-relieving modalities like ice, heat or electrical stimulation if the patient is in pain
  • Postural alignment training
  • Stretching and strengthening exercises to help reduce the curvature and prevent the condition from advancing further
  • Manual therapy to help improve spinal flexibility

There’s no reason that any child should live with a risk for permanent spinal issues that can severely impair their quality of life in the future. So if your child is displaying any signs of abnormal curvature of the spine that may be due to their posture, it’s imperative that you address it right away. Contact Strulowitz & Gargiulo Physical Therapy at 201-792-3840 to schedule an appointment today at our flagship Jersey City clinic, the Jersey City Medical Center Outpatient Therapy Department, our Bayonne office or at Clara Maas Medical Center in Belleville, NJ.