Kyphosis is the pathological hunching of the back, to a worse extent than normal.
Because of the mechanics of the body, all people develop three natural curves in a standing position which function as a whole mechanical unit: cervical lordosis, thoracic kyphosis and lumbar lordosis.
The angle created in the thoracic lordosis may range between 24° and 40°. Beyond these limits, we have Hypokyphosis (angle below 23°) and Hyperkyphosis (angle greater than 40°).
As far as Hyperkyphosis or pathological kyphosis is concerned, we can distinguish it into small (up to 50°), medium (up to 60°), big (up to 75°) and exceptionally big (above 76°).
The increase of kyphosis for static reasons affects the other two curves; more specifically, cervical lordosis is reduced -even to zero- which results in cervical straightening, and lumbar lordosis increasing.
Adolescent kyphosis or Scheuermann's disease usually appears in the course of puberty during the rapid development of the bones. There is a hereditary predisposition which manifests with a reduction of the development of the vertebra bodies in their frontal parts, and especially in the epiphyseal plates, which are the source of the bone forming during development.
Gradual reduction in the production of bone in the anterior parts of the vertebra bodies leads to a wedged deformation, usually in three consecutive vertebrae (it may be between one and six and on different levels), resulting in a forced increase of the kyphotic angle.
If the disease presents itself in the thoracic part of the spine, the kyphosis (hump) of the adolescent increases, with hunching of the shoulders, straightening of the neck and an increase of lordosis. Sometimes the disease presents itself in the lumbar part, which results in a straightening of the back and a reduction of lordosis.
The difference between organic kyphosis (Scheuermann's disease kyphosis) and functional kyphosis (bad posture) is easy to diagnose if we place our hand on the hump of the adolescent and ask him/her to raise his/her back. We will see that in functional kyphosis he/she will be able to straighten his/her back, while in organic he/she will not.
Treatment of organic adolescent kyphosis consists solely of the application of the special hyperextension SPONDYLOS brace for at least 21 hours per day. The aim is to discharge the anterior surfaces of the epiphyses and create enough bone to correct the wedged damage. In functional kyphosis it is enough a good exercise program, to strengthen the back and the abdominal muscles.
An adolescent kyphosis that was not treated when it should have, results in permanent wedged deformation of the vertebrae.
Old wedged fractures of thoracic vertebrae, pathological lesions in the vertebral bodies from infections, lesions to intervertebral discs and other causes gradually lead to anterior wedged deformation of the discs, which results in the gradual increase of the kyphotic angle and the onset of pain in the back, especially after prolonged standing.
In these cases we, at SPONDYLOS, perform what is called adult kyphosis treatment, with the application of a special kinesiotherapy program and the wearing of a special adult kyphosis brace for at least 8 hours after the exercises. Treatment lasts between one and two years, until the angle no longer corrects, and then the patient is introduced to a special maintenance program with exercises.
Lastly, osteoporosis, an insidious metabolic disease, initially creates microscopic collapses in the vertebrae bodies, leading to the creation of Osteoporotic kyphosis as a result of the wedged deformations in their anterior parts. Timely support of the spine with the SPONDYLOS brace reduces fractures and restores the kyphotic angle to a point.