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Exploring Your Treatment Options for Spinal Deformity


A spinal deformity occurs when the vertebrae that make up your spine are abnormally aligned. Normally these bones are stacked one on top of the other, the spine has a standard curvature, and from the back the spine appears to run straight up and down. Spinal deformities result in changes in any of these natural positions of the spine and vertebrae.

Spinal deformities include:

  • Kyphosis (hunchback)
  • Lordosis (swayback)
  • Scoliosis (S curve)
  • Spondylolisthesis (misaligned vertebra)
  • Various birth defects 

If you have symptoms of a spinal deformity in the Bay Area, the orthopedic specialists at Dignity Health are here to help you. To get your personalized treatment plan, use our online search tool and Find a Doctor or call 866.759.0708 for a doctor referral.

Spinal Deformity Causes

In most cases, the cause of spinal deformities is unknown. The effects of wear and tear on the spine with age (arthritis) and thinning bones due to osteoporosis can contribute to kyphosis, lordosis, and spondylolisthesis. Some deformities run in families, such as scoliosis.

Spinal Deformity Symptoms

Small spinal deformities may not cause any symptoms. However, larger deformities may cause the following symptoms:

  • A visibly abnormal spine
  • Back pain
  • Problems with walking and breathing (in severe deformities)
  • Uneven shoulders, waistline, hips, or legs

Treatment of Spinal Deformity in the Bay Area

Options for spinal deformity treatment depend on its size and type. A small curves may not need to be treated.

For more prominent deformities, your Dignity Health doctor may recommend: 

Very large or severe deformities may require surgery to straighten the spine and help prevent complications, such as difficulty breathing. We may recommend that you see one of our specialists at St. Mary’s Spine Center or Saint Francis Memorial Hospital in San Francisco, Sequoia Hospital in Redwood City, and Dominican Hospital in Santa Cruz. Call 877.647.1149 for more information.

At Dignity Health, highly skilled orthopedic specialists offer the latest treatments for spinal deformity in the Bay Area, including San Francisco, Santa Cruz, and Redwood City.