Kyphosis is a forward bending of the spine in the thoracic area, involving a few or many vertebrae. Our literary friend Quasimodo, the Hunchback of Notre-Dame, is an extreme example of kyphosis, which is more often seen in elderly women with osteoporosis. Again poor posture through our youth is a more common cause of mild kyphosis, which can be a persistent cause of aches and pains in the upper back and shoulders. It is interesting to note that kyphosis is more common in left-handed people.


This is a lateral curvature of the spine, which is named according to the location and direction of the convexity . Unlike other curvatures in the spine, scoliosis may be genetically inherited or caused by trauma that allows a malalignment that is not corrected. Disease processes such as osteoporosis may also cause this problem.

All Eastern philosophies consider the spinal column to be associated with the main flow of energy through the system. A correctly positioned spine is therefore essential for the free flow of energy.


A spinal curvature is not, in itself, a problem unless discomfort or neurological symptoms are noticed. Be wary that problems may develop if curvatures are not corrected.

The earlier that correction can be attempted, the better the prognosis.

It is never too late to correct posture and parents should be vigilant of ‘slumping’ children.

Learning the basics of the Alexander technique at an early age is beneficial. Yoga, Qi Gong and Polarity therapy can also be reviewed, the first two are more active so may be more enjoyable, especially for children.

If a curvature is causing problems, osteopaths, chiropractors and Shiatsu practitioners can correct problems.

General lethargy, malaise and depressions that have no obvious underlying cause may respond to correction of an imbalanced spine by affecting the energy flow through the system.