Distortions of the natural curvature of the spine
are common, and may result from poor posture
, weak ligaments
, injury, spasm of the back muscles
, or genetic
Problems and pain also occur when the nerves
of muscles that surround the spinal column
become irritated, compressed or torn.
The following is a discussion of some specific conditions.
- Scoliosis (twisted spine) - Is lateral curvature of the spine, to the left or right. You can detect scoliosis by running a finger down the length of the spinal column, and comparing it with a straight line. Scoliosis will change the whole alignment of the body, and may cause:
Scoliosis can be treated with orthopedic surgery, the use of traction, plaster casts, or exercises, depending on the cause.
- Kyphosis (rounded back) - Is increases outward curvature of the spine in the thoracic region. The condition ranges in severity. Symptoms and effects include:
- slouching shoulders
- overstretched back muscles
- tight pectoral (chest) muscles
- Lazy abdominal muscles, often resulting in 'drooping' of the abdomen
- shortage of breath owing to limited chest movement
The causes of kyphosis are frequently congenital, although the condition may come about as the result of injury.
- Lordosis (hollow back) - Is an increase in the normal curvature of the spine in the lumbar region, Typically:
- the lower back becomes arched and stiff, and the muscles are shortened
- the buttocks stick out, with the muscles becoming overstretched
- the abdomen is pushed forward, and, again, the muscles are overstretched
The condition occurs in women in the latter stages of pregnancy, and in men who have a 'paunch'. Some individuals are unfortunate enough to develop both a round and hollow back, a condition known as kypholordosis.
- Slipped disc - Is a very painful condition that occurs when ruptured disc material presses on the nerve roots or the spinal cord.