Spinal curvature is not abnormal. In fact, it is very natural for the spine to curve from front to back in some areas. However, when a patient’s spine curves abnormally it can become a detriment to their quality of life. An abnormal curvature could exist when the spine curves in a direction other than the slight curve backward and forward of the normal spine. This can often lead to pain and other symptoms depending on the area of the curvature and the degree to which the curve is seen.
Normal spine curves
Naturally, there are four curves in every spine. These begin at the cervical spine and continue through the sacral curvature. The curves are named with the area of the spine in which they are located. These include: sacral curvature, lumbar curvature, thoracic curvature and cervical curvature.
These normal curvatures begin developing while we are in the womb. When an infant is born, their spine is shaped like a “c.” This is because the thoracic and sacral curvatures have developed within the womb. During the first few month of life, the cervical curvature develops, allowing the baby to lift its head. Around six months of age, the lumbar curvature develops, finally allowing the baby to crawl, sit and stand unassisted.
Spinal curvature disorders
When a physician discusses spinal curvatures, he or she is generally discussing the abnormal curvature and conditions associated with the curvature of the patient’s spine. Spinal curvature disorders can generally be placed into three separate conditional diagnoses.
- Kyphosis – Kyphosis is a condition relating to the thoracic curvature of the spine. This condition causes patients to have an over-pronounced hunch in their middle back. This can occur due to genetics, certain diseases (such as Scheuermann’s kyphosis of Gibbus deformity), poor or lacking nutritional supplement or poor posture over an extended period of time.
- Lordosis – Abnormal lordosis is an abnormal curvature of the normal curvature of the spine. This can occur when the lumbar and cervical curvatures are over-pronounced, and can cause extreme pain or discomfort. Lordosis itself can refer to either normal or abnormal curvature of the spine.
- Scoliosis – Scoliosis is the complete abnormality of the curvature of the spine. With this condition, the spine curves from side to side, often resulting in unbalanced posture and muscle development. Scoliosis most commonly is either idiopathic or congenital, meaning that it develops from and unknown cause or the patient is born with it.
If you are suffering from pain associated with the curvature of your spine, call Laser Spine Institute. Our minimally invasive procedures are specialized to assist patients dealing with pain due to compression, impingement or instability of the spine. Contact Laser Spine Institute to receive a review of your most recent MRI or CT scan to see if you are a candidate for minimally invasive surgery today.