It’s easy to think of our spines as straight. Actually a healthy spine has gentle curves as it progresses from the cervical spine down to the lumbar spine of the lower back. When viewed from the side, the spine has those gentle curves, moving slightly backward at the shoulders, moving back inward at the bottom of the thoracic spine in our torso, and continuing to move inward for the first four vertebrae of the lumbar spine, before bending back outward as the fifth lumbar vertebrae moves into the fused sacrum and coccyx. When viewed from the back, the spine should run straight down the middle of the back.
But sometimes the natural curves of a person’s spine either are misaligned or exaggerated in certain areas. These conditions are known as lordosis, kyphosis, and scoliosis. We treat all three of these curvature disorders at Coastal Spine.
Types of spine curvature disorders
There are three main types of these disorders:
- Lordosis — The spine curves significantly inward at the lower back. Also known as swayback.
- Kyphosis — The upper back is abnormally rounded with more than 50 degrees of curvature.
- Scoliosis — Here the spine has a sideways curve, often an S-shaped or C-shaped curve.
Treatment for these spine curvature disorders
At Coastal Spine, our treatment approaches with these conditions depends wholly on the patient. Some mild curvature may not be treated. More severe cases may require bracing or even surgery.
- Lordosis treatment may include medication for pain, physical therapy to increase muscle strength and flexibility, weight loss, wearing a back brace, and possible surgery.
- Kyphosis treatment may include anti-inflammatory medication and exercise, wearing a back brace, physical therapy, and possible surgery.
- Scoliosis treatment may include bracing, body casting (usually for very young children), and surgery.
What types of surgery are used?
These are the procedures our Coastal Spine orthopedic surgeons may use to treat these conditions:
- Spinal instrumentation — Various appliances (rods, hooks, and wire) are attached to the patient’s spine to realign the bones and keep them secure. This is done after spinal fusion.
- Artificial disc replacement — Discs that have degenerated in the spine are replaced with artificial discs.
- Kyphoplasty — A balloon is inserted inside the spine to straighten and stabilize the affected area and to relieve pain.
If you are concerned about you or a family member possibly having an abnormal curve in your spine, please call us at Coastal Spine, (856) 222-4444. We can help.