Medical Library | February 26, 2013

Spine Curvature Disorders

spine-diagramThe spine or the backbone comprises of vertebrae (small bones) and discs arranged in a manner to form a gentle curve. The curve plays a major role in absorbing stress from gravity and body movement. A healthy spine normally has a gentle curve when observed from the side and appears to run straight when it is observed from the back. However, in the case of spine abnormalities the gentle natural curve is distorted or misaligned in some areas as is the case in kyphosis, scoliosis and lordosis.

Kyphosis, Scoliosis and Lordosis Explained

Scoliosis is a back condition that is characterized by the spine curving to the right or left. The curve can occur either in the upper spine (thoracic curve) or in the lower side of the spine (lumbar curve). It can also occur from the lower to the upper side of the spine (thoracolumbar). The severity can range from mild, hardly noticeable to serious.

Kyphosis can be easily confused with scoliosis because they both involve abnormal curvature of the spine. However kyphosis is characterized by a more distinct front to back curve. It causes an abnormal round upper back. Lordosis on the other hand is a back condition that causes the spine to curve inward on the lower side of the back. It is also referred to as swayback

Causes of These Spine Curvature Disorders

There are several conditions or health problems that are associated with spine curvature disorders some being specific to a particular spine curvature disorder i.e kyphosis, scoliosis or lordosis while other cuts across the three spine curvature disorders. Here are some of the causes based on the type of disorder:

  • slouching or poor posture
  • osteoporosis
  • arthritis
  • spine infection
  • spine tumor
  • unusual vertebrae development (congenital kyphosis)
  • spina bifida (a birth defect that causes the spinal column not to close fully)

Among the main symptoms are fatigue in the lower back, hump on the upper back and bending frontward of the head relative to the rest of the body. Obesity, Osteoporosis (a condition associated with fragile bones or vertebrae), kyphosis, congenital kyphosis, Spondylolisthesis (abnormal growth and development of bones a condition associated with dwarfism), and discitis (an inflammation of the discs). Other symptoms include discomfort and back pain, problems in moving, and swayback with pronounced buttocks.

As for scoliosis, it is not clearly known what causes it however, it is common among teens and is said to be inherited. Some potential causes include uneven hip or waist, uneven shoulder blades making it appear as if one is higher compared to the other and leaning towards one side.

Why Should a Patient With Spine Curvature Disorder Visit a Chiropractor?

A chiropractor can help fix these problems. Chiropractors mainly perform manual therapy that focuses on spine manipulation. A chiropractic strengthening exercises and adjustment together with orthopedic footwear or orthopedic braces can cause the needed curvature correction as well as relieving the back pain.

In addition, a combination of massage and chiropractic adjustment also helps in fixing some of these spine curvature disorders. A chiropractor can also recommend some customized programs of rehabilitative or corrective care to help in relieving pain and restore alignment

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