Hyperkyphosis – More Than Just a Hump | Move Physiotherapy Fremantle

Hyperkyphosis – More Than Just a Hump!

With the everyday person spending more time than ever before hunched over a computer screen, looking down at their mobile phone or simply slouched in the couch at the end of a long day (mental note to sit upright as writing this article) – hyperkyphosis is becoming ever more prominent! But what is this condition? And, how is it treated?

Our kyphotic curve of our spine is the outwards curve between our lower back and neck. Hyperkyphosis simply refers to a more pronounced thoracic curvature as compared with our ideal spinal position. In addition to being a prominent sources of pain in our midback area, this posture also increases the amount of protraction of our shoulder blades, increasing the likelihood of a number of shoulder pathologies, and results in a forward head posture which can trigger pain through the cervical spine, in addition to nasty cervicogenic headaches. Hyperkyphosis can also lead to pathological issues such as osteoporosis.



Causes of Hyperkyphosis

Hyperkyphosis is caused by a combination of tight and hypertonic muscles – particularly through the pectorals, sternocleidomastoids and cervical extensor muscles – and weak and over-stretched tissues – particularly the thoracic extensor muscles such as the trapezius and rhomboid muscles, and posterior shoulder musculature. Pectoral muscle trigger points refer pain into the shoulder, chest and arm whilst the sternocleidomastoids and other cervical extensors refer pain into the head. The trapezius muscle trigger points refer into the head, back and shoulder and the rhomboids refer into the back and out to the shoulder.

Collectively, we refer to this pattern of tightness and weakness as an upper crossed syndrome. You can see this in the illustration below.

upper crossed syndrome


How Can Physiotherapy and Massage Help?

Functional hyperkyphosis can be corrected by massage, positional changes, joint mobilisation and strengthening exercises. Using a range of massage techniques including fascial techniques, Swedish techniques and ischemic compression, massage therapy can assist in altering functional hyperkyphosis by reducing muscle tone and trigger points in shortened tissue such as the pectorals, sternocleidomastoids and cervical extensors. Your therapist will also prescribe a series of stretches and self release techniques to improve your muscle length between sessions.

But- at Move Physiotherapy – we don’t stop there! We also completely guide you through your rehabilitation exercises to strengthen the weaker, over-lengthened muscles. That is why we are completely equipped with an onsite gymnasium space. We stand by our results. Generally speaking, we can make a significant improvement in your standing posture within a period of 12-16 weeks.

To book your appointment, follow the link here and book either a physiotherapy or massage appointment today! 


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