Spinal Deformity

A normal spine has a natural curve.  When viewed form the side it resembles a gently curved S.  This allows for motion as well as the ability to absorb shock and bear weight. In some cases, a person may have a deformity that causes a variation in the normal curve of the spine.

The most common spinal deformity is scoliosis. A typical spine, when viewed from the back, has a straight, vertical alignment.  A spine with scoliosis will have an abnormal sideways curve.  It is present in less than 5 percent of the population and most commonly affects females between the ages of 10 and 18.  Scoliosis may occur in varying degrees and is often unnoticed.  More severe cases can, however, cause pain and other health problems.

What are the symptoms of scoliosis?

Signs of scoliosis may include a visible lateral curvature to the spine as well as asymmetry of the shoulders, chest, waist or hips.  You might also notice a tendency to lean to a particular side.

How is it diagnosed?

Diagnosis of this condition typically involves a physical examination and imaging such as x-rays.

How is it treated?

Treatment of scoliosis varies depending on the severity of the condition. It can range from simple observation in mild cases to bracing or surgical intervention in more extreme cases.

Are there other types of spinal deformity?

Other forms of spinal deformity are known as kyphosis and lordosis.  These conditions are characterized by an exaggerated front to back curvature of the spine.

What is kyphosis?

Kyphosis typically affects the thoracic curve of the spine and is sometimes referred to as “hunchback”.

Some individuals are born with this condition, but in other cases it is acquired.  Poor posture, muscle weakness and disease can cause the spine to abnormally flex forward.   It is common in the elderly, but also amongst adolescents.  It most commonly affects females.  In the elderly it is often associated with osteoporosis.

Symptoms of kyphosis include a noticeable roundness of the shoulders and upper back.  It may also cause pain or stiffness.

Diagnosis of kyphosis involves a physical examination and imaging such as x-ray or MRI.  Treatment varies depending on your age and the severity of the condition.  Often, physical therapy is a beneficial in correcting postural causes.

What is lordosis?

Lordosis typically affects the lumbar spine and is often referred to as “swayback”.  It is characterized by an exaggerated forward curve of the lower back.

Some possible causes of lordosis include poor posture, obesity, or disease.

Symptoms of lordosis include an exaggerated curvature of the lower back.  It may be accompanied by pain or stiffness.

Diagnosis of lordosis involves a physical examination and imaging such as x-ray or MRI.  Treatment varies depending on your age and the severity of the condition.  Often, physical therapy is a beneficial in correcting postural causes.

Also see...

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  • Know The Symptoms Of Scoliosis

    The signs of this spine condition develop slowly. We’ve got tips to help you identify the signs and symptoms of scoliosis so that you can seek medical evaluation and treatment while symptoms are in the early stages.

  • What Is Scoliosis?

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