Physical Therapy


Physical Therapy Can Help Manage Kyphosis

Are you experiencing upper back pain, or noticing that you appear “hunched over” from the side? You may have a condition called kyphosis. Graham Therapy in Bethesda, MD, offers physical therapy, support, and guidance for kyphosis, scoliosis, and many other conditions. Our skilled therapists specialize in the treatment of spinal ailments and would be happy to do a full evaluation of your condition

Contact our clinic in Bethesda, MD today to learn more about our treatment methods for kyphosis, and how our physical therapy programs can improve your quality of life.   

What is Kyphosis? 

Kyphosis is defined as a spinal disorder in which an excessive outward curve of the spine results in an abnormal rounding of the upper back. The condition is sometimes known as “roundback” or—in the case of a severe curve—as “hunchback.” 

Kyphosis is often a result of osteoporosis and can vary in severity from minor changes in the way your back is shaped, to developing nerve problems, chronic pain, or noticeable deformities.  According to UMMS, “Kyphosis is most common in the thoracic spine, though it can also affect the cervical and lumbar spine.”

The spine consists of many stacked vertebrae that are connected by cartilage. They’re slightly rounded, which makes the upper back curve outwards. This allows us to walk, bend, stretch, and balance ourselves.

Usually, kyphosis isn’t a cause for concern and doesn’t require treatment. Sometimes a patient may need to wear a back brace though, or do posture correcting exercises to strengthen their spine. In severe cases when kyphosis becomes painful, it can result in serious spinal deformities and trouble breathing, and lead to breathing problems. 

Symptoms & causes of kyphosis

In mild cases of kyphosis, the spinal curve is not always noticeable. However, the most obvious symptom of kyphosis is an abnormal forward curve in the upper part of the spine. This curve causes a person to appear as if they are hunching over or bending forwards with rounded shoulders.

Other symptoms include:

  • back pain
  • stiffness in the upper back
  • a rounded back
  • tight hamstrings

The three most common types of kyphosis include postural kyphosis, Scheuermann’s kyphosis, and congenital kyphosis.  This condition can be caused by several things, such as osteoporosis, having poor posture, aging, or vertebrae that are unusually shaped. 

If you’re experiencing symptoms related to this condition, it’s a good idea to have a full evaluation completed for you at Graham Therapy in Bethesda, MD. In more severe cases, the longer this condition goes untreated, the more likely you are to experience long-term complications and painful side effects, such as:

  • an irreversible hunch in the back
  • persistent back pain
  • weakness or numbness in the arms and legs
  • breathing difficulties
  • loss of bladder control

What can a physical therapist do for kyphosis?

As previously mentioned, sometimes all that is necessary for the treatment of kyphosis is a back brace to encourage the natural alignment of the spine. However, in other cases, there may be a need for intervention by a physical therapist. Physical therapy treatment for this condition focuses on preventing the curve from getting worse in the future. 

A physical therapist’s goal is to be able to restore normal posture to the highest degree possible and prevent deformities from occurring. Treatment for kyphosis also depends on the type and severity of the curve. 

During your first appointment at Graham Therapy, a therapist will perform a comprehensive physical evaluation to determine the type of kyphosis you have as well as its severity to create the best plan of treatment for you.

They will create a physical therapy treatment plan including targeted stretches and exercises you can do both in the office with their help, and eventually at home on your own. Some examples of exercises that might be included in your program include knee rolls, pelvic tilting, and exercises that bring your knees up to your chest. These exercises will both strengthen your core and back muscles.

Let’s get things straightened out!

Physical therapy can help relieve back pain and improve your posture. Your therapist will be a skilled professional, who will be able to teach you certain exercises to stretch out tight hamstrings and strengthen areas of your body that may also be impacted by the misalignment of your spine due to kyphosis. 

Dealing with this kind of pain day in and day out is tiring, not to mention a hassle to try and treat on your own! If you’re ready to have your condition assessed, or are experiencing any of the above-mentioned symptoms, contact our clinic today to schedule your first appointment.