Dorsal Kyphosis: Definition, Hyperchitosis, Causes, Normal Measurement, Excessive Measurement and Exercises to Relieve Pain

It is a technical term for a widespread phenomenon, which is that of a rounded posture of the upper part of the back.

The slang term for this phenomenon is a hunchback. The weak muscles or overstretched in the chest area above explain many cases of kyphosis.

Especially in the age of technology, where automation saves us a lot of physical labor compared to past generations, our muscles, including those in the upper back, can lose the conditioning that might otherwise result from our daily activities.


Weak or overstretched muscles of the upper back may contribute to a dorsal kyphosis condition.

When they are well-toned, the muscles of the upper back retain good alignment in the thoracic spine.

But when they are weak, they lose their power to keep the vertebrae in the middle and upper part of the back “under control.” The result can be a backward migration of those bones, that is, dorsal kyphosis.

The amount of muscle mass in the paraspinal, the long muscles of the back that extend from the neck to the lower back, may be responsible for the presence or development of dorsal kyphosis.


A 2014 study published in the journal BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders found that older men, who were not obese, as well as those who had small paraspinal muscles, were associated with a higher degree of dorsal kyphosis especially compared to men with more paraspinal mass.

What is dorsal kyphosis?

When you see an x-ray or a body diagram from the side, you can see that the spine curves in alternate directions.

In the neck, the curve extends towards the front of the body. Right below, the thoracic curves go towards the back. Like the cervical curve (neck), the lower part of the back curves towards the front.

A kyphotic curve, as it is often called, occurs naturally in the spine and sacrum but is not natural in the cervical (neck) and lumbar regions (five vertebrae of the lumbar spine (L1-L5)).

The neck and curves of the lower back go forward when you look at the body from the side: these so-called lordotic curves, or lordosis.

This does not mean that the dorsal kyphosis is always expected in the upper and middle parts of the back. The dorsal kyphosis can be excessive, where the problems begin. In addition, the sacrum is a bone that fuses from five.

This means that the degree of your curve is not affected by things like postural habits or the condition of your muscles.

Therefore, the discussion of excessive dorsal kyphosis is primarily applied only to the thoracic spine, that is, to the area of ​​the middle to upper back.

What measure of the curve is standard or excessive?

Historically, the thoracic kyphotic curve has been measured using Cobb Angle’s calculus. (The Cobb angle is also used to determine the degree of scoliosis curves.)

More recently, however, researchers have been developing other measurement methods.

If your thoracic kyphosis measures between 20 and 40 degrees, it is considered normal. Above 45 degrees, your doctor can diagnose excessive kyphosis or hyperkyphosis, which are two terms that mean the same thing.

Other names include Gibbous’s deformity and Dowager’s hump.


Hyperkyphosis affects many different types of people (often for various reasons) with older people, adolescents whose skeletons have not yet matured, office workers, and people with scoliosis top the list.

Several conditions can lead to excessive dorsal kyphosis, including muscle weakness, degenerative disc disease, vertebral fractures, genetic disorders, or advancing age.

According to a 2017 study published in Osteoporosis International, excessive dorsal kyphosis is associated with vertebral fractures.

No matter what the cause, diagnosing and treating hyperphosphatase early can help you avoid the negative impact, it can have on your quality of life.

Hyperkyphosis can cause headaches, shoulder problems, reduced lung function, neck pain, and pain in the upper or middle part of the back.

Exercises to help relieve pain caused by hyperkyphosis

Along with other treatments that include physiotherapy, braces, and surgery, exercise is a critical component in reducing the pain caused by kyphosis. There are many simple exercises that we recommend to help relieve your pain:

Superman: Lie on your stomach with your arms above your head. Lift your legs and arms towards the ceiling, helping to stretch your back. Hold this position for up to 10 seconds and repeat ten times or as many times as you feel comfortable.

Thoracic foam roller: With a foam roller, lie on your back and roll slowly back and forth on your back.

Extension: stand tall and straight, then reach your arms above your head, forming a “Y.” While holding that position, exhale and inhale while maintaining your posture.

Chin Tuck: when standing or sitting, rest two fingers on your chin and push your head and chin back. Hold for three seconds and repeat 10 times.

Angel wall: stand with your back against the wall with your arms up and your elbows bent. Squeeze the shoulder blades, forming a “W” with your arms. Hold for three seconds, repeating it up to 10 times.