Kyphosis: Causes, Symptoms, and Solutions for Postural Health

Written by: Posture Mike



Time to read min

Shoulders back, stand tall, and walk proud!

Sounds easy enough; however, people whose spine curvature is close to 50 degrees or more suffer from a condition called Kyphosis or “hunch back.” As all body parts interconnect, so does the brain partner with posture. For many suffering from rounded shoulders, forward head posture, and humped backs, the reality of standing tall and walking with pride is but a mere illusion.

  • The risk of Kyphosis increases 20–40% of people older than 60 years of age
  • Male and Females are equally affected by Kyphosis

What is Postural Kyphosis?

The anatomically correct thoracic (upper spine) should naturally form an “S” curve. When the “S” curve becomes more of a “C” curve, this rounded upper back that causes a forward stance is known as kyphosis. Hyper kyphosis occurs when the convex curve is more than 50 degrees. Kyphosis is an over-pronounced backward spinal curvature, commonly causing the appearance of an arch on the upper back, giving the upper body a rounded-forward appearance.

What are the causes of Postural Kyphosis?

Postural Kyphosis occurs when anatomically correct posture is compromised due to poor posture and mismanaged movement patterns. In adolescence, it can occur in girls when they first develop breasts and become self-conscious, causing them to round their shoulders and slump in their postural stance. If this habit of slouching remains, a hump can develop behind the neck; consequently, over time, as the collar bones are forced downward, and the head and neck are pulled forward, the accumulation of fat and connective tissue forms a hump leading to a condition known as the “Dowager’s Hump.”

Forward-head posture develops in both sexes with the frequent use of devices over long periods. As people grow older and develop poor postural habits while sitting, driving, standing, and walking, the neck, shoulder, and back muscles weaken, leading to an increased “C” curve of the thoracic spine.  Additionally, overusing the back instead of bending at the hips when reaching forward can cause extended curvature of the spine. 

The Posture Board is the most important piece of equipment to help eliminate Kyphosis.

What are the consequences of Postural Kyphosis? Any deviation from anatomically correct postural alignment produces consequences. In the case of Postural Kyphosis, the results of the upper thoracic spine developing a hyper convex “C” curve rather than maintaining an anatomically correct “S” curve are as follows:

  • The joints and muscles of the upper back pull forward and misalign 
  • Misalignment of the shoulders, neck, and back can lead to poor circulation, numbness, and pain.
  • Compromised breathing as the lungs compress due to a reduction in rib space.
  • Lack of oxygen leads to exhaustion, unclear thinking, and headaches.
  • Height reduction
  • Lack of self-esteem

Try these exercises to help with your Kyphosis:

Standing on Posture Board
Duration: Hold for at least 5 min
How to Perform:

  • Use a posture board. Stand on the posture board against a wall with your feet fist distance apart, pointed straight ahead, slightly pigeon-toed.
  • Heels, hips, upper back touching the wall with your head in a relaxed neutral position
  • Hands relaxed at your sides
  • Relax stomach

On Back Foot Circles and Points
Duration: 1 set of 60 reps
How To Perform:

  • Use a mat. Lie on your back, and raise your legs at a 90-degree angle over a chair or bench.
    If you cannot put your head down fully, place a pillow under your head until your body adjusts to a flat position. 
  • While in this position, place your hands at your sides at 45 degrees, palms up.
  • Rotate one foot in clockwise circles, then flex the foot (gas on, gas off). Alternate feet
  • Keep upper body relaxed.