Does stretching of anterior structures alone, or in combination with strengthening of posterior structures, decrease hyperkyphosis and improve posture in adults? A systematic review and meta-analysis

Rebecca Withers, C. Ryanne Plesh, Dawn A. Skelton

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

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Abstract

Kyphosis can lead to back pain, poor posture, and increased falls risk. This systematic review aimed to synthesize research on stretching alone, or in combination with strengthening, as a management for hyperkyphosis in the adult population (18 years old). An electronic database search was conducted from February to March 2022. The author and an independent reviewer screened titles and abstracts for inclusion criteria - those whose intervention involved stretching alone or with strengthening exercises. The author appraised and extracted data from included articles and performed a meta-analysis where appropriate. The database and citation search yielded 327 articles, 18 of which met inclusion criteria. One study included performed stretching as a standalone intervention; the remainder used a combination of stretching and strengthening. The meta-analysis (n=3, with 5 exercise groups) found a statistically significant difference (MD = -6.97 (95% CI -9.84, -4.10), p<0.00001) in post-intervention measures of hyperkyphosis favouring the exercise group. The narrative review of studies agrees with this finding, demonstrating statistically significant improvement in hyperkyphosis following various exercise programs. This review suggests that stretching and strengthening exercises improve hyperkyphosis in the short and long term. Low-quality evidence supports stretching as a standalone intervention. Further, more robust research is required to recommend procedures and determine if stretching alone is effective for treating hyperkyphosis in adults.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)174-187
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Frailty, Sarcopenia and Falls
Volume8
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2023

Keywords

  • hyperkyphosis
  • stretching
  • exercise
  • adults
  • posture

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