In order to safely and effectively reduce or correct a postural shift like a hyperkyphosis (hunchback), you must determine the primary condition that caused it. In very rare situations it may require medical treatment or management if the severity of hyperkyphosis infringes on the patient’s breathing, heart function or there is a severe unrelenting pain. However, these situations are extremely unlikely and not immediately life-threatening. Therefore, the patient would benefit more from a consultation for a conservative approach with a chiropractor, specifically a chiropractor who does structural correction.
Certainly exercise and stretching can be great but for those who have a significant imbalance causing a noticeable spinal shift like hyperkyphosis, you are at risk for exacerbating the primary condition causing the hyperkyphosis to get worse.
Hyperkyphosis is commonly a result of abnormal structure of the spine which can be caused by a myriad of factors. Finding ONE source responsible for an abnormal spinal structure is like finding one food source responsible for someone’s obesity. It’s just not that simple. But in rare cases, there can be one major factor, e.g. thyroid issues for obesity. Congenital Scoliosis, Idiopathic Scoliosis, Scheuermann’s disease and other congenital spinal deformities can be major contributing factors. They can often be treated with structural chiropractic care to reduce the hyperkyphosis but results can be limited depending on the severity of the deformities especially those where the vertebrae themselves are actually deformed.
More commonly though an abnormal spinal shift is a result of a number of different factors like; slips, falls, excessive sitting, poor posture, repetitive motions, sports injuries etc. all of which often go untreated because there was little or short-lived pain which most people assume meant not damage. Ultimately there is a cumulative effect, like not brushing your teeth and eating badly can end up causing cavities. The problem is there long before there is
The sooner you treat this or ANY abnormal spinal shift the better your results will be. However, many adults even in their 80s or 90s can see improvements. It just depends on the cause and the severity of the shift and resultant spinal degeneration. The only way to find out is to see a chiropractor who focuses on structural correction. Where they will take before and after structural radiographs and digital posture analysis to determine the objective changes of treatment. Most chiropractors, even those who take x-rays before, will focus on the symptoms to determine the success of the treatment.
This is fine for some people but it will not help to reduce or correct the abnormal structural shift with a noticeable hyperkyphosis. There is hope for improvement but without an exam, it is impossible to tell how much. Even then you will need to commit to a structural care plan both in and out of your chiropractor’s office with regular x-ray reevaluations.
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