Spinal deformity


Spinal deformity is an abnormal alignment of the bony vertebrae that make up your spine. Spinal deformities result in changes to any of the natural positions of the spine and vertebrae.

Causes of Spinal Deformity

For most spinal deformities, the cause is unknown. Some forms, such as scoliosis, tend to run in families. Wear and tear degeneration of the spine, which occurs as you age, and osteoporosis, which is thinning of the bones, can contribute to certain spinal deformities, such as kyphosis, lordosis, and spondylolisthesis.

St. Joseph's Medical Center offers state-of-the-art treatment for the following types of spinal deformities:

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

Symptoms of Spinal Deformity

Small spinal deformities may not cause symptoms. However, severe spinal deformities can cause problems with walking and breathing.

Signs and symptoms can develop with larger deformities and may include:

  • A visibly abnormal spine
  • Back pain
  • Uneven shoulders, waistline, hips, or legs

Treating a Spinal Deformity at Dignity Health

Your personalized treatment options depend on the type and size of the spinal deformity. Small curves may not require any treatment.

Your expert doctor at Dignity Health may recommend the following treatments for spinal deformities:
There are many options for treatment, including:

  • Medications
  • Physical therapy
  • Specific back exercises
  • Back bracing

Very large or severe deformities may require spine surgery. Surgery can straighten the spine and help prevent complications such as difficulty breathing.

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If you need surgery, St. Joseph's Medical Center is committed to offering the latest technologies to improve your care, reduce recovery time, and restore maximum function.

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