Kyphosis… or simply put: Bad Posture
There are many ways that we potentially injure ourselves during workouts. We should always stretch and warm up before we proceed with whatever workout regiment we choose. However, we are prone to injury from other sources as well. Kyphosis is the way in which our back and spin can curve in a dangerous way. It occurs from poor posture over an extended period of time. It makes us appear shorter and rounds out our back. It also causes the neck to be more forward than usual. The back is naturally somewhat round around the top, but this exaggerated posture, which causes problems, is what differentiates this normal and healthy spine from kyphosis.
Kyphosis occurs from two sources: from birth, in which the spine can only be fixed through surgery, or from posture. The second type of kyphosis is caused by prolonged posture problems. The person who has developed it, through conscious posture fixing and other physical therapy, can correct it.
Certain exercises are also the cause of kyphosis. Any activity in which your spine is engaged in this ‘slumped over’ (called ‘spine flexion’) position for an extended period of time may be the reason for your kyphosis. These include biking (whether stationary or outdoor), swimming (especially in the freestyle position), anything that requires an extensive period of bending over (such as tending a garden), and more common these days is an extensive amount of time on the computer while hunching.
This bad posture will also manifest itself in workouts. When we work out with a kyphosis, we are more likely to sustain a terrible injury. These injuries will occur based on the incorrect posture that will be assumed during the exercise routine. The muscles, joints, and even bones can be seriously damaged from a workout with a kyphosis. A shoulder injury is also commonplace if exercising with bad posture occurs. Due to the incorrect angles that our bodies are in when kyphosis is a problem, we can easily pull our shoulder in a direction that it is not meant to go in. This is especially common with weightlifting. It is dangerous to exercise with a kyphosis without consulting a physical therapist about your condition.
That said, there are also some exercises that have been proven to directly counteract the problems associated with kyphosis. For example, a prone neck extension, lateral pull-downs, and dumbbell seated rear lateral raises are all exercises that can actually improve the kyphosis issues. These should be done with professional supervision and only after a professional has approved it. If you are concerned that you have a kyphosis, contact a physical therapist or licensed personal trainer who can help identify your issues and work towards a workout regiment that will not be dangerous and can actually correct the problem of kyphosis and bad posture.