T-Tapp and Thoracic Kyphosis (Computer Hunchback)

thoracic kyphosis and t-tapp

With the advent of personal computing and phone devices, thoracic kyphosis, or excessive thoracic kyphosis (ETK) is at epidemic proportions.

What is ETK and why do I care?
Thoracic kyphosis is an exaggerated hunching or bending forward of the upper spine (thoracic spine) and neck. You may consider this hunching over as the inevitable effects of gravity as one ages, but the introduction of personal computing devices is creating an earlier and more exaggerated tendency to this syndrome.

Some of the symptoms and effects of EKT are muscular and skeletal aches and pains, breathing problems, limited function of the neck and back, impaired physical movement, gastrointestinal upsets and increased mental stress.

I had a friend this last year experience an increase in acute pain of the neck and upper back, impaired mobility of the neck, possibly related gastrointestinal upset and stress from these conditions. It ain’t fun and frankly I wouldn’t have given notice to one more ‘syndrome de jeur’  if it wasn’t for seeing someone struggling with this.

Here’s a simple test to see if you have this condition and then what you can do about it…

Test for EKT
Standing sideways in a mirror, place a finger of one hand on the indentation between your collar bones just under you Adam’s apple.

Then put your finger of your other hand on the spinal vertebrae just below the ones that stick out (dowager’s hump).

Now, looking towards the mirror note the relationship of your front finger to your rear finger. If the finger on the front of you body is lower than the one on the back, your spine is rounding forward. This is ETK and some folks will see that their front finger is MUCH lower than their rear finger.

What causes ETK?
Besides the obvious activity of spending a lot of time at our computers, and being hunched over our smart phones and tablets, other causes are psychological stress,  incorrect or repetitive exercise movements and environmental factors. For some, the bending forward is an actual wearing down on the front of the vertebrae causing the bend forward.

Remedies for ETK
Approaching this from multiple modalities is probably the best way to go. Using exercise, stretching, breathing exercises in conjunction with massage and hands on treatment, you can greatly reduce and counteract the effects of ETK.

I can think of NO BETTER support for counteracting ETK than the basics of T-Tapp. Just practicing the T-Tapp stance will do wonders for educating you at the somatic, or muscle-brain level. It will teach you how to counteract the hunch and create healthy, repetitive movements and muscle development in all your daily activities. Here’s a video where Teresa explains and walks you through the basic stance…pay particular attention to her upper body alignment…

All T-Tapp exercises use the T-Tapp stance, which includes the directive to ‘lift your ribs’ rather than push your chest out. This little action contains a key movement to counteracting the tendency to slump forward at the shoulders, back and neck.

Yoga and Pilates will also help with counteracting the effects of ETK and educating your body and mind in healthier body postures and movements.

One my favorites in addition to ‘ribs up!’ is using a myofacial foam roller daily to roll on my thoracic spine and then lay across for periods of time to counter act the hunching forward posture.

Also, developing conscious, deeper breathing helps to expand the rib cage and thoracic area, bring more awareness to posture, and creates a stronger sense of well being. When we are feeling down, hurt or stressed out, we often respond to life’s slings and arrows by protecting our heart area, and caving in at the chest. Breathing deeply and consciously helps to counter psychological or stress related causes for this hunching forward.


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BrightyBodyFitness.com provides tips and information for staying fit and happy naturally during perimenopause and beyond, using the T-Tapp workout and more.

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