NOTE: In the Academy Blog, I like to report on the most current research; however, I periodically come across references from years ago that are significant contributions to practice; and thus, “blog-worthy.” I’ve come across a few of these recently, so you might see a couple of ‘older’ references…but I’m sure it will be valuable information! Today’s blog is from Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation in 2007.
Thoracic kyphosis is a postural deformity characterized by an excessive curvature of the upper back (thoracic spine). This kyphosis is characteristic of osteoporosis and is commonly seen in older females. A recent study featured in the Academy blog showed that exercises utilizing Thera-Band products can help improve kyphotic posture.
A study conducted by researchers at the University of California in San Francisco supported that finding. In their research, they targeted females over 65 years old with increased kyphosis over 50 degrees. The women participated in a twice-a-week group exercise program for 12 weeks led by a physical therapist. Download the Thoracic Kyphosis Exercise Protcol here. The exercises included Thera-Band resistance band exercises, a stretch strap, ankle and wrist cuff weights, and a foam roll. The resistance band exercises were similar to those recommended by Sara Meeks PT, who authored an exercise brochure on osteoporosis for the Thera-Band Academy several years ago.
After the program, the participants had improvements in their posture, spinal muscle strength, range of motion, and physical performance. The authors reported that the improvements seen over 3 months in posture (11%) and trunk muscle strength (53%) exceeded the results from previous studies. While the results were promising, more research on a larger sample size and comparison to a control group are needed to evaluate the true effect of the exercise program in a clinical setting.
REFERENCE: Katzman WB, Sellmeyer DE, Stewart AL, Wanek L, Hamel KA. Changes in flexed posture, musculoskeletal impairments, and physical performance after group exercise in community-dwelling older women. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2007 Feb;88(2):192-9.