Thoracic kyphosis, defined as an increase in the normal curvature of the spine, is a growing problem with young women. Several factors, such as: slouching, carrying heavy bags, watching television, breast development, and ever increasing hours buried in their phones, are making this a national problem, and one that will surely increase over the years, especially as Millennials enter their aging years.
Researchers from the University of Johannesburg, South Africa, sought to determine the effectiveness of either chiropractic spinal manipulative therapy to the thoracic spine or stretch and strengthening exercises versus the combined treatment of chiropractic spinal manipulative therapy to the thoracic spine in conjunction with stretch and strengthening exercises.
For this study, stretching and strengthening exercises consisted of stretching the pectoralis major muscle and strengthening the rhomboid, middle and lower trapezius muscles.
The study consisted 3 groups made up of 30 female participants between the ages of 20 and 39. The first group in the study received chiropractic spinal manipulation to the thoracic spine only, while the second group received chiropractic spinal manipulation plus stretch and strengthening drills. The third group received stretching and strengthening exercises only. The stretching and strengthening exercises were performed under direct supervision to ensure compliance with the treatment by all participants - something that is not always the case in the real world:). Group 1 received one treatment session per week for 6 weeks, while groups 2 and 3 received 3 treatments per week for 6 weeks.
The results of the study, as measured by degree of thoracic kyphosis, showed that all three treatment protocols were effective. However, the first group had not shown a great improvement in their kyphosis, group 3 showed a relatively good improvement in their posture, while group 2 had the best results in terms of postural improvement. The results show that while all groups improved, the best clinical outcome was obtained when applying chiropractic spinal manipulation with stretching and exercises.
These results come as no surprise, and are consistent with clinical outcomes at the Back In Motion Chiropractic & Sports Rehab, Beaverton clinic. Correcting postural kyphosis is not simply a matter of sitting up straighter (while this is something that will need to happen for best long-term outcomes), chronic postural syndromes create tissue changes, namely shortening in the front and lengthening in the back, that can only be corrected effectively with the potent combination of spinal manipulation and therapeutic exercise. The study design is interesting in that groups 2 and 3 were treated with a much higher frequency than group 1, and are again consistent with best outcomes we see in our Beaverton clinic. While we do not condone ultra-high-volume treatment plans (3 times per week for 6 months) like many manipulation-only chiropractors, evidence shows conclusively, from this study and many others, that a higher frequency of therapy applied over 3-6 weeks yields far better outcomes. This is why the chiropractic physicians at Back In Motion in Beaverton will typically recommend a treatment plan of 2-3 times per week initially for best results. Just like you would not expect significant changes in body physique with only one visit to the gym per week, we cannot expect positive and quick results to chronic tissue damage in 1-2 visits.
This research is further evidence that chiropractors using manipulation only are not adhering to the best practices of the profession, and could be significantly prolonging your recovery. Likewise, physical therapists using only stretching and exercise are also missing the mark. Time and again, research supports the use of both manipulation (joint and soft-tissue), and therapeutic exercise for the best health outcomes. This is the foundation that Back In Motion Chiropractic & Sports Rehab in Beaverton, OR was built on, and we hold firm to the model of spending more time with our patients to provide all of the therapies necessary to give our patients the best chance for a quick and full recovery. We treat every patient like we would ourselves; working hard to get them recovered as quickly as possible so they can use their precious free time to be active in life rather than in the clinic.
The Back In Motion difference is not just philosophical, it's science! Experience the difference for yourself.
Back In Motion Chiropractic & Sports Rehab - Serving the Beaverton and Portland community for more than 25 years - "Moving Toward Your Finish Line"