Kyphosis is a common condition characterized by an excessive curvature of the upper portion of the spine. Poor posture and a sedentary lifestyle are two of the main causes of kyphosis in children and adults. As with many health concerns, it is much easier to prevent kyphosis from occurring than it is to reverse the condition. The long-term effects of kyphosis on the body include shoulder impingement, chronic tension in the back and shoulder muscles, thoracic outlet syndrome, and temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ). A study published in the American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation suggests that exercises intended to strengthen the spinal extensor are beneficial to those suffering from kyphosis.
Begin by lying face down on the floor with both arms down by your side, and palms facing up. Place both feet together. Slowly lift your chest off of the floor as high as you comfortably can without hyper-extending your back. Squeezing the shoulder blades together, raise both arms off of the floor and rotate them externally. Ensure that your head is in alignment with the rest of your body. Hold this position for 10 to 12 seconds.
To perform this exercise you will need a set of lightweight dumbbells. Sit on the end of a weight bench with your back straight and your abdominal muscles tight. Lean forward, bringing your chest over your knees. Lift both arms to shoulder level, squeezing the shoulder blades together. Lower your arms down on either side of your body. When performing this exercise make sure that your elbows are slightly bent and you do not raise your arms higher than shoulder level.
For this exercise, you will need a set of moderate dumbbells. Stand with both feet hip-width apart and your shoulders down and back. Slowly raise and lower your shoulders in a shrugging motion.
Begin by lying on your back with both legs in front of you. Raise one leg off of the floor, bringing it into your chest. Place both hands behind the leg and slightly pull the leg in closer to your chest until you feel slight tension. Hold this position for several seconds. Repeat using the opposite leg.
- American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation; "Strong Back Can Decrease Thoracic Kyphosis in the Osteoporotic Spine;" Scott, R., Sinaki, M., Gelczer, R., Wollan, P.; March/April 1996
- "Spinal Deformities: Scoliosis and Kyphosis (Clinical Symposia)"; M.D. Hugo A Keim, M.D. Robert N. Hensinger; 1989