What is normal spine alignment?
Normally, the spine is straight when viewed from the front or back.
When viewed from the side, the spine has several curves that help distribute the body's weight and maintain balance evenly. These curves are present in both the cervical (neck), thoracic (upper back), and lumbar (lower back) regions of the spine.
Starting from the top of the spine, the cervical region has a slight forward curve known as lordosis. The thoracic region has a slight backward curve known as kyphosis, which is more pronounced in the middle part of the back. The lumbar region also has a forward curve known as lordosis.
In the uterus (mother's tummy), the spine assumes a C-shaped (kyphosis-primary curve) to cope with the small space. During the first few months of life, once the child develops neck control, the cervical lordosis or secondary curve develops to allow the infant to access his environment visually. The secondary lumbar curve (lordosis) develops after the 5th month when the child starts unsupported sitting. This curve, well suited to upright posture, continues to develop until the child starts standing, walking and running.
When these curves are in their normal alignment, they work together to maintain balance and allow for flexible movement.
Types of spinal deformities?
There are several types of spinal deformities:
- Scoliosis: This is a sideways curvature of the spine that can occur at any age but is mostly diagnosed in children during their growth spurt. Various factors, including congenital conditions, neuromuscular conditions, or degenerative changes in the spine, can cause scoliosis.
- Kyphosis: Kyphosis is an excessive forward curvature of the thoracic spine (upper back) that can cause a hump-like appearance. Various factors, including degenerative changes, osteoporosis, or developmental conditions, can cause it.
- Lordosis: Lordosis is an excessive inward curvature of the lumbar spine (lower back) that can cause a swayback appearance. Various factors, including developmental conditions or degenerative changes in the spine can cause it.
- Flatback syndrome: Flatback syndrome is a condition in which the lower back loses its natural curve, causing the patient to lean forward. Various factors, including spinal fusion surgery or degenerative changes in the spine can cause it.
The spinal deformity can cause various symptoms, including back pain, stiffness, and difficulty walking.
The spinal deformity can be caused by various factors, including degenerative changes, prior spinal surgeries, or congenital conditions. The condition can affect any spine region and may involve multiple levels of the spinal column.
The symptoms of spinal deformity can vary widely depending on the severity and location of the condition. It may be totally asymptomatic or lead to back pain, stiffness, or issues with cosmesis.
Treatment for spinal deformity depends on the severity of the condition and may include physical therapy, pain management techniques, or surgery. In severe cases, surgery may be necessary to correct the deformity and prevent further problems to the spine.
Explore more related spinal conditions:
Paediatric Scoliosis: Learn about the abnormal curvature in children's spines and its potential treatment options.
Spondylolisthesis: Discover the slippage of vertebrae and its potential impact on spinal stability.