Curvature of the Spine – The Different Types of Spinal Conditions

November 12, 2012

Curvature of the Spine - The Different Types of Spinal Conditions

Although every back has natural curves, a curvature of the spine on an x-ray is a completely different matter and could even be a sign of trouble.

Here are some of the spinal conditions that you need to look out for and try to avoid.


Kyphosis generally refers to an exaggerated curvature of the spine that looks similar to a hunched or rounded back. This condition might develop because of slouching since poor posture tends to stretch the ligaments of the spine and increase its natural curve. Kyphosis is usually painless and is much more common in women. Strengthening exercises can sometimes help fix this condition.

Congenital kyphosis, on the other hand, needs to be taken more seriously, though. This condition usually occurs in children whose spines didn’t get to develop properly. Although surgery can help fix this problem, it could get worse the older the child gets. People with osteoporosis tend to experience this problem a lot, too.

Scheuermann’s Disease

Named after a Danish radiologist, Scheuermann’s disease refers to a deformity that is virtually painless, but makes the spinal disks and vertebrae look wedge-shaped and irregular. The only way it can be diagnosed is through an x-ray and it is much more common in girls. Although surgery is not a requirement for this type of condition, a brace might be needed to correct it. Exercises and inflammatory drugs would also be a part of the treatment.


Scoliosis generally refers to an abnormal curvature of the spine where the spine curves sideways. Depending on how extreme the curve is, one shoulder might look lower compared to the other, or the hips or ribs might stick out on one of the sides. Scoliosis is usually genetic and is much more common in girls.

Although scoliosis normally develops in children, adults can be affected by it, too – be it because of a failure to treat or diagnose it during childhood, or because of spinal changes during adulthood.

Fortunately, scoliosis doesn’t cause too many problems most of the time. The curvature of the spine in this condition is usually small and it hardly ever comes with back pain. However, the failure to treat scoliosis could result in long term effects, including trouble breathing.

The key to ensuring that a curvature of the spine doesn’t get any worse would simply be early detection. In the few cases out there that do require medical help, medicinal advancements have turned scoliosis into a highly manageable condition. If you need a doctor who specializes in musculoskeletal diseases and who can monitor, diagnose and treat conditions like this, then look for an orthopedist near you.

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