Commonly known as ‘hunch back’, kyphosis is a condition where there has been a rounding of the back. This rounding of the back is usually located in the mid-thoracic area of the spine and can sometimes include the neck as well. There are many different reasons for this visible deformity. Some of those reasons include, but aren’t limited to: Remaining seated in one place for too long, osteoporosis, degenerative diseases (such as arthritis), developmental problems, injury, or trauma. People who have weak abdominal muscles and bad hamstrings in the back of the legs are often afflicted with this condition. This can result in bad back posture, slouching, stiffness or tenderness in the spine, mild pain, and muscle fatigue. There are several different methods that can be employed to treat kyphosis. Medications and surgeries are some options. However, the safest of these methods is by performing kyphosis exercise. Kyphosis exercises treat the problem by stretching out the stiff areas, such as the hamstrings or the chest, and also by strengthening the weak areas, such as the upper back and abdominal region.
Postural Kyphosis Exercises
Developed during adolescence, this type of kyphosis is normally very minor. It can usually be corrected by doing strengthening exercises that focus on the rhomboids and trapezius muscles. Here are a few of those exercises:
• Hamstring Stretch – For this exercise, lie straight on your back on a mat or a flat surface. Have a rope or a band wrapped around one foot while stretching and anchoring the other to the mat. Tension the strap and exhale — do so while extending the leg up high until you can feel a pull in the back of the upper thigh. Stay in this position for a few seconds before releasing.
• Shoulder Blade Squeeze – This exercise involves sitting on a stool or a backless chair, and tuck your chin to your chest. Keep the chest high and draw the shoulder blades together. Hold this position for a few seconds and then repeat.
• Reverse Fly – This exercise will require a lightweight set of dumbbells. With a straightened back and tightened abs, sit on a stool or backless chair with weights in hands. Bend over with your head down and lower the weights just below the knees. Compress the shoulder blades together and lift the arms out to the sides at shoulder-height. Make sure that that elbows are bent and the arms don’t go above shoulder level.
Cervical Kyphosis Exercises
This type of kyphosis exercise involves the straightening of the natural curve in the neck. The following are a few exercises that can help with this type of deformity:
• Cervical Spine Stretches – This will help to restore your ability to turn your head and keep your chin above your shoulders. One stretch you can do involves turning your head to the right as far as possible. Hold this for a few seconds. Repeat with the opposite side. The other stretch involves standing with your feet shoulder-width apart while keeping your hands behind your head. Bend the upper back region from side-to-side and take the elbow upward with each stretch. Hold this position for a few seconds and then relax.
• Stretching of Cervical Flexors – For cervical flexion and extension, you will need to tuck your chin in and slowly lower your head down and then move it forward. Then try to touch the chin to the chest and bend the head backward. For lateral flexion, keep the head straight, and then slowly bring the right ear to meet with the right shoulder. Repeat with the opposite ear and shoulder.