Your body relies on the support of your spine and its surrounding muscles to keep your core strong and straight. If you've had persistent problems with back pain and headaches, it may be because of problems with your spinal alignment. Conditions like hyperkyphosis can cause symptoms like this. If your doctor diagnoses you with hyperkyphosis, you should understand both what the condition is and what your treatment options are.
The Basics of Hyperkyphosis
Hyperkyphosis is a condition that leads to a curve in your upper spine. In most cases, the curve is so significant that your back can actually look rounded when you're standing. Sometimes, that visible rounded curve is the only real symptom that you have. In other cases, the condition can cause significant, persistent pain along your spine. This usually happens when the muscles along your spine are trying to adjust for the curve.
The Causes of Hyperkyphosis
There are many things that can cause hyperkyphosis, including injuries, developmental defects, and more. It's important to understand the cause of your condition as well as the treatment:
Posture—Improper posture can be devastating to your back. Slouching, leaning forward while carrying heavy weight, and leaning back on your chair legs can all lead to persistent problems with spinal issues, including things like hyperkyphosis. Over time, these actions can pull on the tissue that supports your vertebrae, which can cause shifting and the long-term curving of your spine.
Development—Whether you were born with a degenerative disc problem or fused vertebrae, these types of conditions can also be an underlying cause of hyperkyphosis.
Spine Injury—Suffering a serious injury to your spine can cause a shift in your vertebrae or compression in your spine. Sometimes, this will lead to a curve like that of hyperkyphosis.
The Diagnosis of Hyperkyphosis
If you suspect that you may have hyperkyphosis, you'll need to see an orthopedic specialist. He or she will do a full physical exam. During the exam, the doctor will assess your posture and the degree of flexibility that you have. Then, you'll have to bend in several directions to allow the doctor to see how your spine responds to movement. Finally, the doctor will assess the strength in your legs and around your spine. You'll also probably have to have x-rays taken so that the doctor can closely inspect the shape of your spine.
The Treatment of Hyperkyphosis
When you're diagnosed with hyperkyphosis, your orthopedic specialist will evaluate your treatment options. Knowing what they are ahead of time can help you identify any important questions before the appointment.
Physical Therapy—Physical therapy is ideal for managing the pain and progression of hyperkyphosis. The physical therapy and yoga exercises can help to strengthen the muscles along your spine. Over time, those strengthened muscles may even help to support your spine enough to ease your pain.
Bracing—If your spinal curve is too severe and your muscles cannot account for it, you may find that you need to wear a brace for support. For younger patients, it may gradually correct the curve. For older patients, it may not be able to correct it, but will often contribute extra support and help ease pain.
Surgery—Some cases of hyperkyphosis require surgery for correction. Spinal surgery is serious. It isn't right for every patient. In fact, the benefits must be found to outweigh the risks for surgery to even be considered because of the sensitive nature of this type of surgery.
Hyperkyphosis can cause significant pain and discomfort. If you're struggling with back pain, you'll want to talk with your doctor or an orthopedic specialist to see if it is the cause of your discomfort if you haven't already. With the information here, you can better understand the condition and your treatment options. Learn more about orthopedic surgeons through a website like http://www.towncenterorthopaedics.com.