The spine is our support system. It allows us to bend, move, lift and twist.  It houses a whole network of nerves that send messages from the brain to the rest of the body, and allows the brain to receive messages back.  Under normal conditions, the spine is a relatively straight, yet very flexible structure of vertebrae and discs.  Sometimes, however, the spine can bend or twist in an unnatural manner and stay in that position.  While minor deformities may not cause any discomfort, more significant deformities can lead to severe issues.

What Is Scoliosis?

Scoliosis is a condition in which the spine curves sideways.  It usually develops in late childhood, during the time period where children experience significant growth, and can range in severity.  Naturally, the larger the degree of curvature, the bigger the problems that can occur.  With lesser curves in the spine, there may be little to no issue or discomfort, but bigger curves can lead to respiratory problems and physical deformities.  The chest can twist or posture can be tilted and cause pain.

How Is Scoliosis Treated?

The treatments for scoliosis range with its severity.  Small curves, between 10 and 30 degrees, are not usually treated with anything other than being monitored by a physician.  Curves greater than 30 degrees are often treated with braces, which limits the curve’s ability to worsen.  If a curve becomes worse, surgery may be necessary in order to straighten the curve and fuse the affected segments.

What Is Kyphosis?

Kyphosis is a condition in which the spine curves to create a rounded, “humpback” appearance.  It can be caused by a variety of factors, such as poor posture or osteoporosis.  While it usually doesn’t cause any pain, more severe forms of kyphosis, such as Scheurmann’s kyphosis, may cause significant pain.  This pain can become worse with certain activities or with long periods of sitting or standing.

How is Kyphosis Treated?

Exercise or physical therapy may be recommended by your doctor for any pain you are experiencing. Your doctor may also prescribe you anti-inflammatory medications to ease the pain.  More severe forms of kyphosis may require a brace to restrict the curve from worsening.  Surgery is an option for very severe cases of kyphosis, or if non-surgical treatments aren’t helping.  Like scoliosis surgery, the spine is straightened and affected segments are fused together.

Minor spinal deformities may not have any effect on your overall health, as long as they are routinely monitored to ensure that they don’t get worse.  More severe curvatures, on the other hand, can cause some significant pain as well as other issues.  For more information on scoliosis and kyphosis problems and treatments, be sure to contact JAG Physical Therapy today to schedule an appointment, or visit one of our 14 locations.