Can Upright Walking Help Kyphosis and COPD?
Kyphosis, an excessive outward curvature of the spine that causes hunching of the back, is often seen in the spines of elderly people on medical walkers. Osteoporosis and calcium loss weakens spine bones, sometimes resulting in fractures that heal in a wedge form causing the bend once called "Widow's Hump," as it was seen most often in elderly women.
Doctors tell us that this forward curvature of the spine puts additional pressure on the heart and lungs. When someone has COPD, a progressive lung disease that includes emphysema, chronic bronchitis, and asthma, the effect causes additional stress that may worsen health and make breathing more difﬁcult.
When we designed the LifeWalker® Upright, our advisor Dr. Steven Garﬁn told us that standing upright with some unloading of body weight could help improve posture and take some pressure off the heart and lungs. While we have not conducted tests to validate this, we know anecdotally that my wife Jean, who has both kyphosis and COPD, needs less oxygen when she uses her LifeWalker. We hope to be able to demonstrate this statistically by conducting formal tests in the future.