Get Familiar with the Different Types of Spinal Deformities

Doctor examining spine xray

The spine is an intricate piece of the body, comprising hundreds of individual pieces of bone, muscle, joint, and more. What truly makes the spine the spine, though, are the vertebrae. Thirty-three small bones are stacked atop one another in a neat line, with fluid-filled discs between then and muscles and connective tissue to give them support.

Ideally, your vertebrae will be perfectly aligned from the time you are born until the end of your life, but bodies are not perfect, and many things we do each day affect our spine health. These activities, as well as genetics, may cause spinal deformities that affect the way the spine curves.

Of course, it’s quite difficult to know what’s going on underneath your skin. If you are experiencing back or neck pain or have a suspicion that your spine is deformed, you should visit a chiropractor like Posture Works in San Francisco, CA and Denver, CO to be examined and diagnosed. Once a condition is confirmed, you can begin a treatment plan designed to alleviate or reverse the deformity.

Common spinal deformities

There are a few spinal deformities that are common in children and adults. These deformities may alter the way you look, walk, or sit because your spine has such a major impact on how you hold your body.

Usually, these spinal deformities will not cause severe pain in the neck or back. However, misshapen spines may pull on surrounding muscles and tissues, causing sprains and stiffness that make it difficult to be completely mobile.

  1. Scoliosis: An S-shape is normal when looking at the spine from the side, but when viewing it from the back, it should be straight up and down. Scoliosis causes your spine to curve in an S- or C-shape laterally (to the side).
  2. Kyphosis: Kyphosis occurs when the upper back, or thoracic spine, has an abnormal curvature of 50 degrees or more. This creates a “hump”-like appearance.
  3. Lordosis: Instead of the spine curving outwards toward the bottom of the spine near your lower back, lordosis makes your spine curve inwards.
  4. Spondylolisthesis: Spondylolisthesis occurs when a spinal vertebra slips forward on top of the vertebra below it in the spine. This condition is typically caused by age and wear on the spine. This condition is known to cause low back pain that may radiate into the legs.

Natural or preventable?

Some spinal deformities occur in people naturally, whether from the time they were born or later in life due to aging. Other deformities are common because of poor posture, bad spine health, or an injury. You should know which deformities are preventable, so you can take steps to maintain proper spine health and avoid developing them.

Kyphosis is a great example of this. Scheuremann’s kyphosis is a condition that develops in children early on in life and is caused by the vertebrae growing unevenly. This condition is not preventable. However, normal kyphosis often occurs later in life as a result of an injury or other spinal problem like arthritis.

If you are diagnosed with a preventable deformity, you may be able to reverse it with the help of a licensed chiropractor. Realignment and exercises may be what you need to stand up tall again. If your condition is not preventable, you may not be able to cure it, but you can work with your chiropractor to find a pain management routine that keeps you moving.

By taking control of your spine health, you’ll be in a better position to prevent spinal deformities, when possible, and will enjoy pain-free movement for much longer. Call Posture Works in San Francisco, CA and Denver, CO today to learn more about Chiropractic BioPhysics (CBP), our holistic approach to patient wellness, and how we might be able to assist you and your spine.

Chiropractic BioPhysics, or CBP, is one of the most scientific, researched, and results-oriented corrective care techniques. CBP-trained chiropractors aim to realign the spine back to health, eliminating nerve interference and addressing the source of pain, fatigue, and disease. As with all chiropractic care, CBP is gentle, painless, and non-invasive.