Spinal Kyphosis Treatment

Spinal kyphosis refers to an abnormal, forward-rounding curve of the back, colloquially referred to as hunchback.

At Vitalis Physiotherapy, we specialise in kyphosis treatment to:

What is Spinal Kyphosis?

Spinal kyphosis is a broad term referring to an exaggerated forward curve of the upper vertebrae. This can give a ‘hunchback’ appearance and is considered a spinal deformity. Typically, a normal spine can bend between 20 and 45 degrees of curvature, however kyphosis is determined by curvature over 50 degrees. The medical term for this curvature is actually hyperkyphosis, though kyphosis is most commonly used in lieu.   

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Types of Spinal Kyphosis

The main types of spinal kyphosis include:

  • Postural kyphosis – Most common especially in adolescence, triggered by poor posture or slouching ‘trained’ to a hold hunched spine, rather than severe structural abnormalities. In older age, osteoporosis or bone fractures can be a cause.
  • Congenital kyphosis – Present at birth, caused by incorrect spinal development. If detected early, surgical intervention may help.
  • Post-traumatic kyphosis – Occurs when spinal vertebrae fracture after an accident, severe fall, etc., causing the bones in the spinal column to collapse and curve.
  • Nutritional/metabolic kyphosis – Develops if the body is unable to absorb or metabolise critical vitamins and nutrients which strengthen bone health, over time weakening the bone and increasing the risk of vertebral fracture collapse and curvature.
  • Scheuermann’s Kyphosis – A disease characterised by a trapezoidal shaping of vertebrae rather than rectangular shaped. This misshaping causes spinal misalignment and stacking, and the smaller trapezoidal front of the bone (wedge) facilitates the spine to remain in a hunched position. Indents (pockets) in the bone triggered by spinal discs pushing into the vertebrae can cause spots known as Schmorl’s nodes. Together, kyphosis caused by vertebral misshaping and Schmorl’s nodes comprise Scheuermann’s Disease.

What are the causes?

Females are more likely to develop kyphosis than males, and diagnosis can vary depending on age. Some common causes of kyphosis include:

  • Poor sitting/standing posture
  • Prolonged periods of laborious activity or repetitive bending movement
  • Traumatic injury (onset of symptoms may be delayed)
  • Anatomical/birth defects
  • Neuromuscular conditions
  • Osteoporosis
  • Mental health conditions, e.g., depression/anxiety

Differential diagnoses of Scheuermann’s Disease, vertebral fractures, disc disease, infections, tumour, osteoporosis, etc., can mimic or cause kyphotic (hunched) symptoms.

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What are the symptoms?

  • Appearance of an obvious curve to the upper spine
  • Gradual change in posture
  • Pain in the mid-back area
  • Difficulty breathing or taking a deep breath
  • Difficulty getting up from a chair/bed/bathtub/etc.
  • Reduced range of motion
  • Balance issues
  • Slower/difficulty walking
  • Fatigue
  • Vertebral fractures or slippage

Treatment for Spinal Kyphosis

As the type, cause and symptoms of kyphosis vary, it is important to see a medical professional if you notice any signs of the condition. You may be referred for scans to detect and accurately determine diagnosis. Typically, severe kyphosis cannot be surgically corrected, however physical therapy can greatly improve the degree of curvature and reduce symptoms.

At Vitalis Physiotherapy, we tailor a unique treatment plan to aid in your recovery through:

  • Soft tissue mobilisations (massage)
  • Stretching exercises
  • Restoring range of movement
  • Postural improvement
  • Dry needling
  • Taping
  • A unique home exercise program
  • Graded Exposure to load program

Your physiotherapist may also advise heat or ice application, rest and if necessary, pain medication. Additionally, they might recommend for you to use neck or back support (braces), or a suitable pillow.


How to book an appointment?

If you have spinal kyphosis, or you’re looking for a ‘physio near me’, our physios at Vitalis Physiotherapy can assess your condition to tailor a unique rehabilitation plan to aid in your pain relief and recovery.

All you need to do is just give us a call on 0410 559 856 and request an initial appointment. Please let our friendly reception staff know the background and severity of your condition.

You can visit our FAQs for more information about appointments at Vitalis Physiotherapy.

Need Help?

Are you in pain caused by spinal kyphosis? Contact Vitalis Physiotherapy now to book in your treatment.

Call our friendly team on 0410 559 856. We’d love to help.

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Sinnamon Park Village

3/58 Oldfield Road, Sinnamon Park Qld 4073


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