Spine Curvature Disorders
Spine curvature disorders are a very common condition, which start in childhood. Different types of spine curvature disorders include kyphosis, lordosis and scoliosis. Spine curvature disorders treatment must be started as soon as possible in order to prevent complications. Have you or your kid been diagnosed with one of the spine curvatures disorders? Don’t panic, below we will discuss the causes of this condition, as well as spine curvature disorders treatment options in more details.
Small bones (vertebrae) stacked along with discs one on top of another make up the spine. A normal healthy spine appears to have gentle curves when viewed from the side. These curves help the spine to absorb stress from body movement and gravity.
The spine should run straight down the middle of the back when viewed from the back. Abnormalities of the spine occur when the natural curves of the spine become misaligned or exaggerated in certain areas such as conditions like lordosis, kyphosis, and scoliosis.
What are the types of spine curvature disorders?
Three main types of spine curvature disorders are:
- Lordosis (swayback): The spine curves inwards at the lower back
- Kyphosis: An abnormally rounded upper back (more than 50 degrees of curvature)
- Scoliosis: A sideways curve to their spine (the curve is often S-shaped or C-shaped)
What causes spine curvature disorders?
A number of health problems may cause the spine to be curved more than normal or become misaligned.
The following conditions can cause lordosis:
- Achondroplasia: Bone disorder that causes abnormal growth resulting in short stature associated with dwarfism
- Spondylolisthesis: A vertebrae, usually in the lower back slips forward
- Osteoporosis: Vertebrae become fragile and can be easily broken (compression fractures)
- Obesity: Being extremely overweight
- Kyphosis: An abnormally rounded upper back
- Discitis: Inflammation between the bones of the spine. It’s most often caused by infection
- Benign juvenile lordosis
The following conditions can cause kyphosis:
- Congenital kyphosis: Abnormal vertebrae development in utero
- Postural kyphosis: Poor posture or slouching
- Scheuermann’s kyphosis: Vertebrae is misshaped
- Spina bifida: A birth defect where the spinal column of the foetus does not close completely during development inside the womb
- Spine infections
- Spine tumors
SYMPTOMS OF SPINE CURVATURE DISORDERS
Symptoms experienced may vary depending on the type of spine curvature disorder you have and the severity of the condition.
Lordosis symptoms may include:
- Appearing swayback (buttocks being more pronounced)
- A large gap between the lower back and the floor when lying on your back on a hard surface that doesn’t change when you bend forward
- Back painand discomfort
- Difficulty moving certain ways
Symptoms of kyphosis are normally visible in nature:
- Head bends forward compared to the rest of the body
- Hump or curve to the upper back
- Fatigue (in back or legs)
Postural kyphosis doesn’t normally cause back pain. However, physical activity and long periods of standing and sitting may cause discomfort for people with Scheuermann’s kyphosis.
Symptoms of scoliosis may include:
- Unevenshoulder blades (one being higher than the other)
- An uneven waist or hip
- Leaning toward one side
SPINE CURVATURE DISORDERS TREATMENT OPTIONS
The type of treatment is based on the severity and type of spinal curvature disorder. Mild spinal curvature (postural kyphosis) may not have to be treated at all. More severe spinal curvature on the other hand, may require the use of a back brace or surgery.
Treatment for lordosis may include:
- Medication (relieve pain and swelling)
- Exercise and physical therapy (increase muscle strength and flexibility)
- Wearing a back brace
- Weight loss
Treatment for kyphosis may include:
- Exercise and physical therapy (to increase muscle strength)
- Anti-inflammatory medication (to ease pain or discomfort)
- Wearing a back brace
- Surgery to fix severe spine curvature and congenital kyphosis
Treatment for scoliosis may include:
- Observation: Doctor may choose to check your back every 4 to 6 months to see if the curve has worsened if you have a slight curve
- Bracing: Base on the severity of the curve, back brace may be prescribed for kids and adolescents who are still growing. It can help to stop the curve from deteriorating
- Surgery: Severe curve that’s getting worse may require surgery sometimes
Treatments including exercise programs, chiropractic treatment, electrical stimulation and nutritional supplements haven’t been proven to prevent scoliosis from worsening. However, it’s still ideal to maintain as much strength and flexibility to retain normal function. This may require more effort and attention in scoliosis patients.
These procedures may be used to treat spine curvature disorders as well:
- Spinal instrumentation: Hooks, rods, and wire are attached to the spine to help realign the bones of the spine and keep them secure following a spinal fusion
- Artificial disc replacement: Artificial devices replace degenerated discs in the spine
- Kyphoplasty: To straighten and stabilize the affected area and relieve pain in the spine, a balloon is inserted in the spine