Your spine is arguably the most important part of your musculoskeletal system. In addition to providing the support and flexibility you need to move, it serves as the primary conduit carrying information from your brain to the rest of your body. When your spine is not healthy, it affects you physically, emotionally and mentally.
A good spine is structurally balanced. It provides the optimum flexibility while at the same time supporting the weight of the body. When you look a person’s spine from the side, you’ll see that it has three curves. There is a lower curve, which is referred to as the lumbar curve. Then there is the thoracic, or middle, part of the spine that curves outward. Finally, there is the upper part of the spine that includes the neck. This curves backward slightly. All three of these curves should work in harmony to keep the body’s center of gravity in place.
There are a lot of different spinal deformities a person can develop. They’re divided into different categories based on the effect the deformity has on the spine as well as the location of the deformity.
A cervical deformity is going to be present in the upper spine around the neck. Normally, the cervical part of the spine should have an inward curve.
A thoracic deformity will affect the middle part of the back. It will change the typical outward curve that is associated with a healthy thoracic spine region.
A lumbar deformity will affect the lower part of the spine. The lower part of the spine naturally tilts inward, and so any movement in this natural tilt will negatively affect the function of this part of the spine.
Spinal deformities can be congenital. This means that they are present since birth. Spinal deformities can also be degenerative. Degenerative spinal infirmities are those that are connected with wear and tear as a result of playing sports, work or just poor body mechanics. Degenerative spinal deformities are associated with age.
Idiopathic spinal deformities are deformities that arise for absolutely no reason. Although the reason behind the development is unclear, the effect that they have on a person’s overall health is still the same.
Kyphosis is a spinal deformity where a person’s spine curves excessively outward. This is strongly associated with the appearance of a hunchback. Chin on the chassis syndrome happens when the upper thoracic kyphosis is so severe that it actually forces a person’s chin to drop all the way down to the chest.
Flat back syndrome is a deformity that leaves the lumbar part of the spine completely flat. This can be extremely painful as it changes the alignment of the spine and removes some of its ability to absorb shock during movement.
Scoliosis affects the side to side curvature of the spine. Scoliosis can be congenital, infantile, juvenile, adolescent or adult.
For the most part, non-surgical options are first recommended, including physical therapy as well as gait and posture training. In extreme cases, surgery may be the only option for addressing these deformities. It all depends on the unique situation.
If you think you may have a spinal deformity, don’t hesitate to seek treatment. Make an appointment at Innovative Spine in San Antonio to learn about your treatment options. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and get started on the track to a better quality of life.