Scoliosis of the Spine

Scoliosis is a sideways curvature of the spine which may occur for a variety of reasons. The spine develops a primary curve to one side. To compensate for the first curve, a secondary curve often develops in the opposite direction, resulting in an “S” shaped spine. The condition, which most often begins in childhood or adolescence, may worsen until skeletal maturity, is not usually accompanied by pain. Progression of the condition is gradual, and may not be detected until adolescence. Adolescent girls are more likely to have scoliosis than boys are. School nurses often do screening for scoliosis among school children.

If a curvature of the spine is noted, it should be evaluated immediately with x-ray films. If the curvature of the spine is slight, no treatment may be necessary. If the curvature is pronounced, or the curvature is increasing, treatment may include the use of a brace. Severe curvature of the spine may require surgery to prevent pressure on the heart and lungs from the spine caused by the body twisting.

Kyphosis, a condition formerly called “hunchback,” is an increase in the normal forward bend in the thoracic region of the spine. It can be caused by poor posture, arthritis, and osteoporosis.

Lordosis, or “sway back,” is an increase in the curve in the lumbar area of the spine. This can be caused by obesity, muscular dystrophy, and hip problems.

Both kyphosis and lordosis may require exercises, bracing, or even surgery.

For more information about scoliosis of the spine, please call (918) 494-AOOK (2665).