Background: Hyperkyphosis is common in older adults and associated with low physical function and reduced health related quality of life (HrQol). Improved kyphosis has been previously established in kyphosis-targeted interventions in randomized controlled trials in older adults with hyperkyphosis; however, evidence for improved physical function is conflicting. Few studies have investigated change in physical function after a targeted kyphosis intervention in older adults with low physical function. The primary aim in this descriptive study was to explore change in physical function after a progressive high-intensity 3-month targeted kyphosis exercise and posture training intervention in older adults with low physical function and hyperkyphosis. Secondary aims were to explore change in HrQol, spinal strength and spinal curvature, and adherence and safety of the intervention. Methods: In this secondary analysis of the Specialized Center of Research (SCOR) Kyphosis randomized trial, 101 community dwelling older men and women with hyperkyphosis who completed the intervention were divided into a low function group (LFG) and high function group (HFG). Baseline characteristics were compared between LFG and HFG. Physical function, HrQol, spinal strength and spinal curvature (kyphosis and lordosis) pre/post intervention change scores were explored within and between groups. Adherence and adverse events were examined in the LFG and HFG. Results: Twenty-six (26%) older adults were LFG, mean Short Phyiscal Performance Battery (SPPB) 9.62 (SD = 1.17) points. At baseline, the LFG was older than HFG (p = 0.005), experienced more pain, (p = 0.060), had worse physical function and HrQol (p ≤ 0.001), and comparable kyphosis (p = 0.640). SPPB changed 0.62 (95% CI: − 0.20 to 1.44) points in the LFG and - 0.04 (95%CI: − 0.28 to 0.19) points in the HFG, p = 0.020. Gait speed changed 0.04 (95% CI: − 0.02 to 0.10) m/s in the LFG. Kyphosis improved equally in both groups. Adherence to the intervention was 83% in the LFG and 79% in the HFG. There were no adverse events in either group. Conclusions: Older adults with low physical function and hyperkyphosis may improve physical function after a kyphosis targeted intervention. Older adults with low physical function may safely participate in targeted high-intensity kyphosis exercise and posture training. This observation needs to be confirmed in larger adequately powered studies. Trial registration: Clinicaltrials.gov identifier: NCT01766674.
- Health related quality of life
- Older adults
- Physical function
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Geriatrics and Gerontology