The spine, also known as the spinal column, backbone, or vertebral column, supports the body when standing upright. Also, the spine houses and protects a part of the central nervous system – the spinal cord. The spinal cord is the main highway of signals from the brain to almost all parts of the body and vice versa, allowing movements and the ability to feel.
Just like any other part of the body, the spine can suffer from some disorders – i.e. curved spine. It is then advisable to know about them so they could be avoided or treated. The three main spine curvatures are:
Lordosis or swayback is the kind of spinal curvature where there is an excessive inward curvature of the spine. It can either be in the lower back or cervical.
Lordosis in the lower back is that inward curvature just above the buttocks. On the other hand, when the neck region’s curvature is either too much or running towards the wrong direction, it is called the cervical lordosis.
The known causes of lordosis are achondroplasia, discitis, obesity, osteoporosis, and spondylolithesis.
Achondroplasiais a bone disorder where there is a hard time converting cartilage into bones resulting in dwarfism. Also known as diskitis, discitis is the swelling of the vertebral disk due to infection. The vertebral disks absorb the impact of movement from the vertebrae to avoid grinding against each other. The buildup of too much body fat is known as obesity. The bones of a person with osteoporosis become too weak or brittle. Lastly, a vertebra, usually in the lower back, slips forward over another in cases of spondylolithesis.
You might not need to treat mild lordosis. However, if there are pain and discomfort, the patient may try physical therapy, medications for the pain,braces for children, or surgery for severe causes. There are also exercises to correct lordosis.
Kyphosis is commonly known as a hunchback. It is the exaggerated curvature of the upper back.The main types of kyphosis are congenital, postural, and Scheuermann’s.
The abnormal development of vertebrae of a fetus in its mother’s womb causes congenital kyphosis. Postural kyphosis is brought about by poor posture or slouching. Finally, Scheuermann’s kyphosis is usually the effect of Scheuermann’s disease that has an unknown cause. The bones grow unevenly, causing the misshaping of the vertebrae.
Just like in lordosis, osteoporosis can cause kyphosis. The main types of kyphosis also reveal its possible causes. Other causes of kyphosis may include spine infections, spine tumors, spina bifida, and arthritis or the swelling of joints.
Spina bifida is a congenital disability where the spinal column failed to completely close around the spinal cord. It makes the spinal cord prone to damage and injury.
Treatment for kyphosis depends on the cause. For postural kyphosis, treatments may not be necessary. Those with Scheuermann’s kyphosis may undergo therapy, wear braces, or have corrective surgery. Tumors causing kyphosis may, of course, be removed surgically. Other causes may be treated with medication and exercise.
The most common among the three spine curvatures is scoliosis. Scoliosis is a curvature of the spine to the right (dextro- scoliosis) or to the left (levoscoliosis), forming S or C shape. It can be thoracic, lumbar, or thoracolumbar.
If the upper or middle part of the spinal column is curved, it is called thoracic scoliosis. Lumbar scoliosis is the side curvature of the lower back. The combination of the thoracic and lumbar scoliosis is thoracolumbar scoliosis. In this type of scoliosis, the upper back and lower back curve to the side.
Usually, scoliosis is idiopathic. It means that it has an unknown cause. However, doctors say they tend to run in families. Other contributors might include disease, injury, osteoporosis, and infection. It may also be congenital – i.e.,.spina bifida.
Idiopathic scoliosis usually requires observation by the doctor every 4 to 6 months. If the curvature worsens, treatments may be required by the doctor. Scoliosis treatment may include braces and surgery. There are also exercises that help improve scoliosis.
Parents usually remind their children about maintaining their proper posture. It is not only because they want their children to look good, but also because the spine is one of the most delicate and important parts of the body. Playing a major role in good posture and body movement, the spine should be taken care of. You should treasure it because your freedom of movement, and even your life, depends on it.