Re: Kyphosis Gallery
Hi little_star, I'm not sure what's happened, as I've looked at the address for the image as well and can't make sense of it, but your image isn't showing. There's a sticky in the Common Room called Hosting and posting pictures that explains ways of being able to share your image, so if you can do that hopefully we can give you some feedback
Ron - welcome to SSo! This may well be telling you stuff you already know, but with kyphosis, as with scoliosis, a curve will have a structural element and a postural element. The structural element is fixed, it can only be improved by structural alteration of your back, ie surgery. However, the postural element can certainly be altered over a period of time with the correct exercises. It's pretty much impossible to say, without proper medical investigation, how much potential a curve has to be improved, and in honesty in most cases it's only going to be a very small amount. However, that doesn't prevent it being worthwhile!
As you've noted, despite the curvature, Dave's shoulders were well positioned, and his head carriage is good. Unless your curve is very high up, and pretty rigid into the neck, these are things you may have some scope to improve. I can also tell you, as someone who struggles with forward head carriage, and forward positioning of my shoulders, that the tendinitis I have suffered in both shoulders as a result of chronic minor injury and misuse from the positioning, has been more or less sorted out by doing some exercises that assist in shoulder mobility, and the positioning of them.
I'd recommend trying to get a decent physio assessment, ideally from a spinal extended scope physio. A qualified sports therapist could also be a good option if you can't find an extended scope physio (there aren't too many around). The things you'll likely be looking to do are to exercise the rhomboids (the muscles between the shoulder blades - these help to pull the shoulders back, and strength in the rhomboids helps prevent you injuring your shoulders due to forward carriage), and to stretch out areas around the shoulder. The bits most likely to need stretching are where the latissimus muscle attaches to the shoulder girdle (the lat is the big muscle that runs diagonally from the shoulder down into the small of your back), and where the pectoral muscles attach to the shoulder girdle - this one may well be especially important as chronically shortened pecs, which are also often weak, helps pull the shoulders forward. Stretching this out can help to maximise the benefits of working on your rhomboids, as the pecs won't fight this any more.
The other thing is to examine how you're using your abdominal muscles. Not all of us use them particularly effectively - for example, if I was asked to pull my stomach in, the muscle I naturally activated to do this was the rectus abdominis - the six pack muscle. Turns out this doesn't do much other than give you a nice cosmetic six pack - it doesn't give your core any great stability, and over-exercising it (for example, doing classic crunches and leg raises in an attempt to get good abs) tends to shorten it, which can actually increase the appearance of a kyphosis. The ones you want to be targetting and working out how to use are your transverse and lateral abs.
Basically, even with no change in the size of the curvature, it *may* be possible to get improvement in appearance by sorting out the abs, stretching out the chest, and strengthening the back of the shoulders a bit, and the best bit is that as long as you get some good advice on what exactly to do to achieve this, at the very least you're probably going to feel better physically
Hope that helps a bit, and I can certainly share with you the few exercises that I do, but it's definitely best to get some proper hands on help, to ensure that you really are stretching the bits you want to, and activating the muscles you want to.
Diagnosed at 15 with 50° curve, but probably juvenile IS. Fused in kyphosis (by non-specialised ortho) with a/p surgery T10-L2 @ 21, posterior only revision surgery to correct kyphosis @ 29. Now 38 with further revision surgery and extension of fusion to sacrum required to correct residual kyphosis, restore lordosis and address spinal stenosis.