Kyphosis

Last Updated: July 30, 2019

Definition - What does Kyphosis mean?

Kyphosis is a physical abnormality characterized by a visible outward curvature of the spinal column that develops primarily along the thoracic region and less commonly along the lumbar and/or cervical regions. Three subclasses of kyphosis exist: postural kyphosis, Scheuermann’s kyphosis, and congenital kyphosis. Patients can experience varying degrees of discomfort/pain, limited mobility, and muscle tightness and/or weakness on a regular basis. Most individuals living with a kyphosis condition are able to perform normal activities, supported by an exercise regimen and consistent physical therapy treatment.

WorkplaceTesting explains Kyphosis

The epidemiological implications attributed to the development of kyphosis can begin as early as during the gestation period while the spine grows into its structural form. It can also occur in adolescence, a period of onset that is common among patients with Scheuermann’s kyphosis. However, postural kyphosis affects more people, particularly women, and it can occur at any point for a variety of reasons often contributing to a lifestyle of poor posture that impairs spinal column stability. Depending on the type of kyphosis condition, individuals may experience mild to severe back pain, awkward gait patterns, chronic fatigue, and vertebral rigidity.

The workplace lends itself to many cases of postural kyphosis conditions based on either defective ergonomic control measures and/or negligent employees that do not practice habits of good posture. Many individuals who hold office jobs are likely to assume daylong slouching and physical inactivity resulting in back aches, taut muscles, and a long-term kyphotic curve. Simple ergonomic modifications such as eye-level computers, a comfortable chair, and frequent breaks can loosen muscles, and alleviate back pain spasms. However, patients suffering from a more pronounced disorder such as Scheuermann’s kyphosis can lead to complicating health issues affecting cardiac, neurological, and pulmonary systems.

Early intervention techniques that include scheduled exercise and physical therapy sessions coupled with patient autonomy to be cautious about posture can reduce biomechanical stress on natural kyphotic curves. However, in rare instances that involve structural defects, orthopedic surgery to realign sectional vertebrae may be the preferred solution.

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