Hunchback (Kyphosis) Correction — Get Rid of a Hump

Girl with a hunchback.

© Africa Studio | shutterstock.com

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Roland Liebscher-Bracht is performing a pain-free exercise.

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Long periods sitting or standing can cause a curved back, drooping shoulder, and overstretched neck. But what if a straight posture is no longer possible?

Hyperkyphosis, known as hunchback or widow’s hump, often causes psychological health problems as well as physical ones. But immediate action can effectively combat both, so in this article, you will find information about:

Roland Liebscher-Bracht

Roland Liebscher-Bracht

Germany's most trusted pain specialist and author of several bestselling self-help books on the treatment of pain conditions.

 
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Roland Liebscher-Bracht is Germany's most trusted pain specialist and author of several bestselling books on pain treatment. Together with his wife, Dr. med. Petra Bracht, he has developed a revolutionary method to treat pain conditions. With the help of the so-called "osteopressure", where you press specific points on your body, and special stretching exercises, pain can be stopped entirely without medication or surgical intervention. This pain treatment allows you to alleviate pain by yourself. Find out how exactly this works in this article or our numerous YouTube videos.

Roland Liebscher-Bracht

Germany's best-known pain specialist and author of several bestselling books on self-help against pain.

 
Read more

Roland Liebscher-Bracht is Germany's best-known pain specialist and author of several bestselling books on pain treatment. Together with his wife, the physician Dr. Petra Bracht, he has developed a revolutionary new form of pain treatment: With the so-called "Osteopressur", in which certain points on your body are pressed, and special stretching exercises, pain can be stopped completely without medication or surgical intervention. It is particularly important that this pain treatment gives you the opportunity to help yourself against your pain in a self-determined way. You can find out exactly how this works in this article and in the numerous YouTube videos.

1. Kyphosis — An Overview


1.1 Structure of the Spinal Area

From the side, the spine resembles a double S. The cervical spine and the lumbar spine curve forward (lordosis), while curvature to the back in the thoracic spine is called kyphosis. The sacrum – located at the base of the lumbar vertebrae connected to the pelvis – also curves outwards.

Illustration of the Spine

© Neokryuger | shutterstock.com (edited)

1.2 What Is Hyperkyphosis?

Hyperkyphosis often has no precise medical cause but is due to our muscles and fasciae. Modern life offers little movement and too many one-sided movements, causing overstrain and malpositioning of the back.

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2. Symptoms of a Hunchback and Self-Test


As well as physical problems, in terms of overall health, for people who suffer this condition, the appearance of a hunchback in the spinal area can also be a psychological strain, leading to mental health conditions like depression.

2.1 Typical Symptoms

Apart from psychological health impairments, the following symptoms indicate hyperkyphosis:

  • Sore back
  • Agonizing sensations, radiating into the arms and legs
  • Numbness in arms and legs
  • Numbness in the buttocks
  • Protruding shoulders
  • Shoulders pulled forward and upwards
  • Tensions in the neck
  • Loss of height
  • Shortness of breath

Deformations of the upper body are also indicators. If these are very pronounced, people can also suffer the following complaints:

  • Upright posture is no longer possible – kyphosis becomes more severe.
  • Freedom of movement is restricted.
  • Internal organs no longer have sufficient space.
  • Restricted chest volume means the lungs can’t expand completely, leading to breathing problems.
  • Lung function often deteriorates, especially in older patients.1)
  • Possible digestive problems.
  • As the internal organs become constricted, cardiovascular problems can occur.
  • Bending can affect gait as the discomfort makes people suffering this condition walk unsteadily and slowly.
  • To compensate for the curving of the upper back, the pelvis tilts forward as the body tries to maintain a normal center of gravity. This can lead to further postural damage and a loss of body height.

Noticed a slight hump forming? Immediately start doing our exercises!

2.2 Curvatures of the Spine at a Glance

A curvature rarely occurs alone: several malpositions are likely to present at the same time or be mutually reinforcing.2)

2.3 Hunchback Detection

A simple test to check if you have hyperkyphosis:

  • Stand with your back to a wall and lean against it.
  • The back of your head, top of your back, buttocks, and heels should touch the wall at the same time.
  • If you notice that the back of your head is not in contact with the wall, it could be indicative of a hunchback.

3. Causes of a Hunchback


3.1 Congenital and Acquired Kyphosis

Hyperkyphosis can occur from birth. However, a hunchback often develops during life, many sufferers being over 60 years old. Doctors also distinguish between functional and fixed kyphosis:

  • Functional: Caused by incorrect posture. Sometimes other spinal areas are bent or twisted. The patient is still able to stand upright so kyphosis can be remedied, and the discomfort eased.
  • Fixed: As the name suggests, this is a deformation of the spine that can no longer be corrected, but discomfort can still be treated.

3.2 Diseases as a Cause

Hyperkyphosis can sometimes be associated with serious diseases. Some of the clinical causes include:

  • Scheuermann’s disease
  • Bechterew’s disease
  • Osteoporosis
  • Trauma, tumors or consequences of surgery

3.3 Hunchback Without Medical Cause

Often there are no medical reasons for the curvature of the thoracic spine. A strain of the vertebrae in childhood can lead to later spinal damage. Frequent sitting in adulthood, too little movement, or one-sided sports are also associated with this health condition.

3.4 How We See It: Musculofascial Tensions in the Upper Body

Our decades of experience show that in most cases, a hunchback is caused by the following factors:

  • Frequent sitting in everyday life,
  • Lack of exercise,
  • Movements that are too one-sided.

Long days in the office, staring at screens, means our shoulders and arms come forward; simultaneously, our neck is stretched to look at the monitor. In this way, our full range of motion is not used, so muscles and fasciae are overstretched or become unyielding.

What Are Fasciae?

Fasciae are the flexible part of our connective tissues. Through the narrow spaces between our muscles and fasciae, interstitial fluid flows. Supplying our cells with fresh nutrients stimulates the cilia of the fibroblasts to produce new fascia threads.

Fascial network

© Photobank gallery | shutterstock.com

If people move too one-sidedly, the fibroblasts receive too few impulses, and the fascia network becomes inflexible. The interstitial fluid is no longer pressed sufficiently through the small space between muscles and fascia, so not enough fresh nutrients reach the cell.

What Causes the Pain?

Since muscles and fasciae are used in a forward position, the chest musculature is pulled towards the front. At the back of your body, the extenders counteract these forces to try and keep the upper body upright. This means your spinal area is pulled from two sides simultaneously.

Receptors on the periosteum measure the tension in our body and pass the information on to the brain. This sends a signal pain (felt as a burning sensation between the shoulder blades) as soon as the pulling forces become so strong that damage is imminent.

How Tensile Forces Cause Kyphosis

Our everyday posture affects our whole body. Add lack of movement and a vicious circle often develops:

  • The abdominal muscles pull the sternum down due to permanent bending.
  • For most activities, we have our arms in front of us which causes our pectoral muscles to shorten and pulls our shoulders forward.
  • If our back muscles cannot sufficiently counteract the strong pull of our abdominal and chest muscles, the result is a hunchback.
  • If tension worsens kyphosis will worsen. Movements become difficult because of discomfort and muscular-fascial tissue becomes even more unyielding.
  • The neck is overstretched and a slipped disc can result.
Roland Liebscher-Bracht is performing a pain-free exercise.

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Roland Liebscher-Bracht is performing a pain-free exercise.

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Roland Liebscher-Bracht is performing a pain-free exercise.

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All gain. No pain.

4. Treatment of a Hunchback


4.1 Our Pain Relief Concept

Muscles under too much tension cause agonizing discomfort. That’s where our tripartite pain therapy comes in: utilising the concepts of foam rolling, stretching, and osteopressure, the muscles and fasciae can be relaxed, pain reduced, and tension decreased.

Foam Rolling Massage

Foam rolling your fasciae has several benefits:

  • The connective tissue can supply itself with fresh nutrients.
  • The foam rolling massage counteracts deposits in the intercellular spaces.
  • Slow rolling pushes the interstitial fluid through the narrow interstitial spaces.
  • The improved exchange of interstitial fluid makes it more alkaline, causing the fascia to bind more water.
  • Bonds dissolve and the fascia layers can glide better.
  • Rolling activates the cilia of the fibroblasts. When they start to weave new fascial threads, your connective tissue becomes more flexible, decreasing tensile forces on the spine.
  • In addition to speed, constant strong pressure is important.
  • In terms of direction, always roll towards your heart, not back and forth Concentrate on places that are particularly sensitive, increasing the pressure of the ball or roller.
A man is using a fascia foam roll to ease the tension in his back
Roland Liebscher-Bracht pointing at an osteopressure point on a skeleton.

Osteopressure

By using our Pain Releaser for osteopressure, you can adapt the pressure to accommodate your discomfort level. A certain point on the periosteum is pressed to reach the receptors.

  • Massage rewires the brain programs that are partly responsible for the surges.
  • Receptors responsible for the signal burning sensation are deactivated, reducing discomfort.
  • You are immediately more mobile and able to do our stretching exercises better.
  • The area is sensitive, so do not press longer than two minutes and only press hard enough so you can still breathe calmly.
  • Increase the pressure slightly when sensitivity decreases.

Osteopressure is a quick aid for use at home. In acute cases, we recommend consulting one of our trained specialists (if available in your region). They will ensure all the bone points that could be responsible for your discomfort are pressed and give you the information you need to perform the exercises correctly.

Note: Osteopressure does not ensure freedom from discomfort or permanently straighten the upper body. You cannot train your hunchback away with this method alone; you need to do our stretching exercises regularly to normalize the tension in the long term.

Muscle-Fascia Stretches

By using the foam rolling massage technique, you can enhance the effects of the stretch and sometimes even accelerate it.

Stretching dissolves muscular-fascial tensions in the chest, frequently resulting in less or no discomfort and an increasingly straight posture.

A woman is facing the corner of a wall and stretches out her arms to either side of the wall.
  •  To permanently relieve tensions, your fasciae need change stimuli, achieved by consciously stretching into the sensation.
  • Stretching requires you to hold tensions when they are released you can stretch further this also helps to strengthen weaker muscles.
  • Our exercises last longer than many conventional stretches. We find that fasciae only give way sufficiently after the stretch has been held.

Note: Your condition may only decrease slightly or not at all, and it may take months or years. But you can reduce or even eliminate your discomfort if you regularly perform our exercise programs.

4.2 Conventional Treatment Methods

Therapy for hyperkyphosis might include corsets, orthoses (i.e. a brace or splint), physiotherapy, or in more severe cases, surgery. Regardless of the extent or cause, after consultation with your doctor, our exercises can help with the discomfort.

Roland Liebscher-Bracht is performing a pain-free exercise.

Join Over 12,000 Subscribers Who Are Managing Pain Themselves.

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All gain. No pain.

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Roland Liebscher-Bracht is performing a pain-free exercise.

Sign up for our free weekly newsletter and get interactive exercise videos and articles about pain management and health delivered to your inbox.

All gain. No pain.

Join Over 7000 Subscribers Who Are Managing Pain Themselves.

Roland Liebscher-Bracht is performing a pain-free exercise.

Sign up for our free weekly newsletter and get interactive exercise videos and articles about pain management and health delivered to your inbox.

All gain. No pain.

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