T Nation

Kyphosis Advice?


#1

Had an X-ray of spine done. Doc noted a 47* kyphotic curve, but wasn’t sure whether to diagnose me with kyphosis or not. For a diagnosis, some doctors need 40* while some require 50*. Any honest opinions of how bad this looks and any possible stretches/exercises to help remedy it?

I have always been self-conscious about this, so any advice would be beneficial.

Thanks!


Internal Snapping Hip Resulting from Minor Stress Fracture of L-4
#2

Look at yourself in the mirror, from the side. Focus on the waist band of your underpants. Drive your feet outward, and twist your feet into the ground. Then use your hips/glutes to “push” your pelvis forward, and get a neutral spine, and a straighter back. Tighten your Abs, and pull your ribs towards your pelvis. When your waist-band is completely horizontal to the floor, you are in the right position.

For practice, wear your lifting belt loose, low on your hips. Loop a resistance band over the belt, then step through the ends. Then, walk around, side to side and back and forth, while the band challenges your posture.

Then recreate that position in the gym. It could be Sumo deadlifts, or Romanian deadlifts, or Glute bridges or hip thrusts. Abs on a stability ball with a band around your knees. Maybe dragging a sled, tied to your belt, with a power-walking, Glute driven style. Whatever it takes.

For the top half, you have to get that upper back going. You need to get your shoulders “back,” or “deep” in the sockets. Your rear delts and traps do this. You could try face pulls, or shrugs face down on a bench, or dumbbell rows on an angle, or Cuban presses. Again, whatever you can feel working the “backs of your shoulders.” Then do pushups, and focus on getting your shoulders “deep” while you get your spine “neutral.” Keep tight. Like a plank. Then work to take this tightness and positioning into your benching and other upper body moves.

In your training, avoid moves that round your back over! Do not allow yourself to Good Morning your squats. Keep your shoulders back, your chest up, and drive with your legs. Don’t do chinups, or Pulldowns where you round over or hunch over at the top/bottom. If your back rounds on deadlifts, try snatch grip or shrugs to train your upper back to pull so you don’t round.

Between workouts, lay on the floor in the 90/90 position. Push your hips in and use your hamstrings so your lower back relaxes, and tighten your Abs so your spine gets neutral. Then do scap wall slides, on the floor, in this position. Practice good posture!

You can fix this, but you are literally over coming a life time of bad posture. You have to be on it all day, every day.


#3

@jtb93 jtb93 - Your thread is of interest to me because a friend of mine (she’s in her mid-30’s) recently went to a PT for advice about her Upper Crossed Synrome/ Forward Head Posture/ Kyphosis.

The PT wasn’t at all encouraging about her being able to change it which really surprised me. Apparently she has a leg discrepancy and some curve to her spine (scoliosis) related to that, so the PT really got focused on putting an insert in one of her shoes to try to level her pelvis. All good, but he didn’t really address the problem that she went in there for. She’s really self-conscious about looking hunched over.

I just wanted to ask you, have you already done worked on posture corrections like this kind of thing?

It seems like there are tons of exercises/ stretches suggested to correct Upper Crossed Syndrome. Have you had any PT / Chiro / Massage Therapy in an attempt to correct it?


#4

@Dr_J2 I think you’re a Chiropractor. Sorry to pull you into this if you don’t have the time.

I’m guessing you see this kind of thing in your practice a lot? My friend seems to have a combination of really weak abs (she had a hard time even activating her core/ bracing her abs when she was asking me about my posture). Also the forward head with inwardly rotated shoulders. Do you have any basic advice for trying to correct?


#5

Yeah, I see it a lot. Frankly, too many of my patients don’t make the effort to do as much as they could to help themselves. Obviously, that doesn’t he true for most people on this site (including their friends). The video above is pretty good for the forward head carriage. There’s a book by a PT, Robin McKenzie called “Treat Your Own Neck” that demonstrates a very similar exercise and several others. I’m a big fan of cable rows with strict form to help pull the shoulders back, and I’ve even had patients decrease their scoliosis curves with these. Of course, other forms of rows and pull downs help as well. Planks are my favorite “ab strengtheners”.


#6

Hey, thanks for the ideas and the book suggestion. I’ll look for it. I would think some daily effort to correct this would at least improve it, if not fix.

Not exactly a “you’re old” problem. This came up in another thread. More of a “you sit all day and slouch all the time” problem. At least for my friend, the PT said chronically bad posture over time.


#7

Flats Farmer and the others have helped me get mine straightened. Face pulls, rows, band pull aparts. My back was so screwed up, when I finally agreed to an epidural while delivering my lil dude, it only deadened half my body. The other half was wide awake. If I can do it, anybody can.

Bottom line is, your chest muscles are TOO tight. If you are benching and not pulling that only makes it worse. You have to pull at least twice as much as you push. But, you have to make sure you are pulling right. Like FlatsFarmer said. Pull your shoulder blades back and DOWN.

I like door frame stretches. It hurts like hell the first few times you do it. Totally worth it!


#8

If one foot is off, or flat, that shin will be off, which will make that leg sit funny, which will cause the pelvis to tilt, so the spine will curve to try to even things out, then the shoulders slump. Or one shoulder gets higher and you get scoliosis, or you get a combination of slumping and twisting…

It goes on and on, and it can get ugly.

Here is a video about how flat feet mess you up. The best part is seeing the skeleton, with good or bad alignment. These foot exercises are like level 1.

Here are some more useful exercises. I’m working on these right now

Different Ankle Exercises. For when you get tired of the first group

Sometimes the legs aren’t different lengths, its just that the hips aren’t working properly. Here is a video about Hip Shift. If you don’t want to watch the whole thing, go to about 2:20, where they explain how to make your hips go. Then check out the adductor/abductor moves they do with the foam roller. First time I tried these, my hips were so stiff, nothing moved. I still get cramps.


#9

It’s probably genetic. Tight pec major/minor, weak rhomboids and traps alone wouldn’t cause increased kyphosis like in the picture. Also, “kyphosis” isn’t a diagnosis. Kyphosis is a normal curve found in the thoracic and sacral spines. What you mean is increased kyphosis.

What I would recommend is performing sustained thoracic extension over a foam roller with a posterior pelvic tilt to avoid extending the lumbar spine.


#10

Thanks all for the responses. Been seeing a PT for the last few weeks. She has been doing a lot of myofascial release in conjunction with a lot of stretching and exercise. I have already noticed a marked improvement in my posture. PT says my curve is now on the high end of average. She says my kyphosis is within the “normal” limits.

My back muscles were extremely tight. Took multiple sessions of “popping” the knots, but my back already feels different with a better cosmetic appearance.


Uneven Pelvis, which is short leg?