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Randomized Controlled Trial
. 2009 Sep;57(9):1569-79.
doi: 10.1111/j.1532-5415.2009.02391.x. Epub 2009 Jul 21.

Yoga Decreases Kyphosis in Senior Women and Men With Adult-Onset Hyperkyphosis: Results of a Randomized Controlled Trial

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Randomized Controlled Trial

Yoga Decreases Kyphosis in Senior Women and Men With Adult-Onset Hyperkyphosis: Results of a Randomized Controlled Trial

Gail A Greendale et al. J Am Geriatr Soc. .
Free PMC article


Objectives: To assess whether a specifically designed yoga intervention can reduce hyperkyphosis.

Design: A 6-month, two-group, randomized, controlled, single-masked trial.

Setting: Community research unit.

Participants: One hundred eighteen women and men aged 60 and older with a kyphosis angle of 40 degrees or greater. Major exclusions were serious medical comorbidity, use of assistive device, inability to hear or see adequately for participation, and inability to pass a physical safety screen.

Intervention: The active treatment group attended hour-long yoga classes 3 days per week for 24 weeks. The control group attended a monthly luncheon and seminar and received mailings.

Measurements: Primary outcomes were change (baseline to 6 months) in Debrunner kyphometer-assessed kyphosis angle, standing height, timed chair stands, functional reach, and walking speed. Secondary outcomes were change in kyphosis index, flexicurve kyphosis angle, Rancho Bernardo Blocks posture assessment, and health-related quality of life (HRQOL).

Results: Compared with control participants, participants randomized to yoga experienced a 4.4% improvement in flexicurve kyphosis angle (P=.006) and a 5% improvement in kyphosis index (P=.004). The intervention did not result in statistically significant improvement in Debrunner kyphometer angle, measured physical performance, or self-assessed HRQOL (each P>.1).

Conclusion: The decrease in flexicurve kyphosis angle in the yoga treatment group shows that hyperkyphosis is remediable, a critical first step in the pathway to treating or preventing this condition. Larger, more-definitive studies of yoga or other interventions for hyperkyphosis should be considered. Targeting individuals with more-malleable spines and using longitudinally precise measures of kyphosis could strengthen the treatment effect.

Conflict of interest statement

Conflict of interest: The authors have no conflicts of interest.


Figure 1
Figure 1
Flow diagram of recruitment, enrollment, intervention delivery and number of participants who contributed data to the analysis in the Yoga for Hyperkyphosis Trial, by study wave.

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