Kyphosis (also known as roundback) is the term used to describe an ovecurvature of the thoracic vertebrae in the upper region of the back. Normally, this portion of the spine should posses a slight curvature between 20-45 degrees. When the thoracic vertebrae exceeds 45 degrees, however, it’s considered kyphosis. If you are currently suffering from excessive curvature of the upper back, you should seek the guidance of a professional chiropractor, as allowing this condition to persist can result in a wide range of health problems.
Most cases of kyphosis are mild and won’t significantly impact the individual’s normal routine. Mild cases are completely painless and should cause no reason for concern (although it should still be monitored). More severe cases consisting of high-degree spinal curvature, however, can cause sharp, severe pain, difficulty breathing, digestive problems, heart irregularities and more.
The severity of kyphosis is measured using a technique known as the Cobb angle. Named after the orthopedic surgeon John Robert Cobb, the Cobb angle consists of several parallel lines which are drawn next to the spine and measured to determine their angle. Even with all of the high-tech medical gear and equipment of today, this method remains the most widely used technique for measuring the severity of kyphosis.
The cause of kyphosis remains unknown, but some medical practitioners believe degenerative disk disease and other degenerative spinal problems can lead to overcurvature. Fractures caused from osteoarthritis may also increase a person’s risk for developing kyphosis. Although the condition can occur in both men and women of any age, it’s more prevalent in women over the age of 40.
There are several different treatment options for kyphosis, including the wearing of a back brace. The Milwaukee and CAD/CAM braces are two back braces commonly used to treat overcurvature of the spine. It’s important to note, though, that braces must be custom tailored according to the person’s unique curvature.
Spinal fusion is a type of surgery that doctors may recommend for severe cases of kyphosis. Unfortunately, the risk of serious complications from spinal fusion is roughly 5%, making it a last-ditch effort for people suffering from severe cases of spinal overcurvature. Possible complications include inflammation, bleeding and nerve damage.
Professional chiropractors may offer some relief for spinal overcurvature. They are professionally trained and qualified to improve spinal functions in the body. If an overcurvature is present, a professional chiropractor may recommend lifestyle changes, braces, and a series of manual spinal manipulations to help guide the spine back on the right course. It’s a quick, easy and painless process that can prove far more effective than painful surgery.
Call or email the staff at AtlantaChiroAndWellness.com to schedule an appointment.