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Thoracic Hyperkyphosis (Roundback)

What is Thoracic Hyperkyphosis?

Thoracic Kyphosis is a disorder that is classified by the excessive rounding of the upper back. This includes forward bending of the spine, excessive forward position of the shoulders, and subsequent forward tilting of the neck and head. This is especially prevalent in the current population that spends many hours bent forward in front of a desk, forgetting to maintain a good posture.

What are some causes of Thoracic Hyperkyphosis?

Some forms of thoracic hyperkyphosis can occur through genetic birth defects, but a majority of the population suffer from postural thoracic kyphosis. This occurs most commonly during adolescence through improper posture, where the upper back is held in a rounded position for an extended period of time. Thoracic Hyperkyphosis is also associated with Forward Head Posture as the weight of the head can pull the spine forward and cause changes to the curvature.

What are some symptoms of Thoracic Hyperkyphosis?

Thoracic Hyperkyphosis is associated with a visible hump on the upper back, upper back pain and stiffness, and rounded forward shoulders. Thoracic Hyperkyphosis also is associated with decreased range of motion in the neck and shoulders. While these symptoms are mild annoyances, thoracic hyperkyphosis can also lead to other disorders such as Degenerative Disc Disease, increased forward head postures, or tightness and pain in the lower back and legs.

How can I prevent Thoracic Hyperkyphosis?

While some of the symptoms of pain and tightness can be relieved through visiting a physical therapist, it is important to be aware of correct postures while sitting and standing. Make sure that the upper back is not curved for too long, and also take breaks to move the back around every hour. It is also encouraged to strengthen the upper back muscles to be able to maintain a good posture for longer periods. This can be done through exercises like rows where the upper back pulls the shoulder blades together.

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