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Posture Talk #2 Hyper lordosis and kyphosis



Our spine has natural curvatures throughout the column. From top to bottom; cervical lordosis, thoracic kyphosis, lumbar lordosis and sacral kyphosis. When those curvatures increase and becomes excessive then it becomes “hyper” curvature such as hyper lumbar lordosis and hyper thoracic kyphosis which we're going to talk about.



Hyper lumbar lordosis and hyper thoracic kyphosis are spinal column postures which can be easily explained as an arched lower back and a humped back and the cause could vary from health condition, pathological disease, to structural or functional postural abnormality. As a RM therapist, these postures are commonly seen in practice either one or both at the same time and yes, remedial massage can improve mobility, tension and discomfort that these postures often cause.


Common cause of spinal column posture









Functional posture is the most common and “best-case scenario” with both hyper lordosis and hyper kyphosis. Most of us have functional posture/postures caused by daily use of our body and changes of our body such as muscles and joint, and being out of the good alignment which cause muscles to adapt and “glued” into the misaligned posture. Functional posture can improve much faster and easier after releasing the tight or taut muscle group and increase stability for alignment. Postures caused by a condition/disease or structural abnormality are often difficult to “fix” it. For this cases majority of the time regular manual therapy, stretch and exercise to improve mobility, reduce tension and tightness is the best thing that you can do.



Sign & Symptoms and effected muscles

Hyper lordosis: Excessive level of curvature of the lumbar spine (lower back) and with hyper lordosis anterior pelvic tilt is often can be found. These two postures often support the cycle of each other.

Hyper lordosis symptoms: Limits and discomforts with lower back and hip movement, causes pain in lower back, upper and side gluteal, hips, and groin. In some occasion, with an extreme muscle and fascia tightness of lordosis, abdominal/digestion issue could be presented.

Tightens lower back muscles; quadratus lumborum, lumbar ESG, obliques., upper gluteal, and front pelvic muscles; hip flexors, and quadriceps muscles group.



Hyper kyphosis: Excessive level of curvature of the thoracic spine (middle back), AKA hump back, hyper kyphosis often causes our shoulders to come inwards and elevate, also forwarded head could be found as well.

Hyper kyphosis symptoms: Very limited movement in upper torso, middle back and ribcage. Breathing could be affected to shallow breathing, and causes discomfort, pain and stiffness in middle back, shoulders and neck.

Taut muscles in middle back; thoracic spinae muscles, rhomboids major and lower fibre trapezius, and tightens front chest and neck; Pectoralis, upper fibre trapezius, scalene group, sternocleidomastoid.



How RM can help with hyper lordosis and kyphosis?

With remedial massage hyper lordosis and hyper kyphosis can be improved by decrease the level of curvature to the normal range as possible. Of course, remedial massage cannot cure any posture or condition but with regular maintenance, I have seen those excessive curvatures of my clients reducing back to reasonable level.

Most functional postures often improve faster with ongoing treatments for few months to reducing tight or taut tension of the affected muscles with combination of remedial massage techniques, dry needling and cupping therapy. Then ongoing stretching tight muscle group and strengthening weak or hypo toned muscle group. For conditional, structural postures often just needs ongoing treatment with personalized stretch and exercise which will help them to feel better for long term.


Stretches and exercise

These stretches and exercises are very basic level and will benefit some but not all, especially if you have an extreme posture and other part of the body is affected as well.

Hyper lordosis: Posterior pelvic tilt (tucking tailbone under) using lower abdominal, Spinal roll down exercise, QL stretch, hip flexor stretches

Hyper kyphosis: Cat & Camel exercise, Pectoralis stretches, Rhomboid major activation


Having regular remedial massage and other therapy will help these symptoms as you try to improve the postures and keeping away bad postural habits. Consult with our therapist and see which muscles and posture you need to be worked on and improve it.




Written by Seonkyo Kim; Dip RM







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