Patient’s Guide to Spinal Curvature Disorders

Table of Contents

Spinal curvature disorders affect millions of people. So, it’s very important to understand what this disorder is and how it can be treated. Here, you will be able to read all of the crucial information about different types of spinal curvature and how it can be treated or prevented altogether.

What Are Spinal Curvature Disorders?

You might have also heard a term “curvature of the spine”. A lot of people use the term “curvature of the spine” lightly to describe spinal curvature disorders. However, this term is not precise enough is misleading in many cases. Namely, all of the healthy spines have at least a little bit of curve to them. That doesn’t mean that we all have a spinal curvature disorder. When experts use the term “curvature to the spine, they are referring to cases in which a spine curves too far in one direction or in a direction it is not meant to be curving towards.

On the other hand, a spinal curvature disorder is a more specific term that describes the wrong type pf curve of the spine that often causes back pain, mobility problems, and a lot of additional health issues.

What Causes Them?

What causes these spinal curvature disorders? Well, it’s not really easy to determine one cause only. Numerous experts tried conducting research on this topic, but we still can’t exactly pinpoint how and why these spinal curvature disorders occur. Here’s what the research has shown so far:

·         A lot of these spinal curvature disorders are congenital, or in other words, they begin at birth

·         In some cases, spinal curvature disorders can occur later in adult life (though it’s more rare than congenital ones, it still happens)

·         In certain situations, behaviour can lead to spinal curvature disorders and the good thing about them is that they are easily preventable with persistent workouts

·         Some cases of these disorders are hereditary (related to genetic code)

·         Idiopathic curvatures are the ones that are still unexplored and the cause of this type of curvature is still unknown

Types of Spinal Curvature Disorders

Spinal curvature disorders can be roughly categorised into three groups:

·         Scoliosis

·         Kyphosis

·         Lordosis


The most common and by far the most explored type of spinal curvature is scoliosis. This disorder occurs when the spine starts to curve either to the right or left, sometimes even creating the “S” shape. It mostly occurs with small children but can also happen later in adolescent. Though adults can also develop scoliosis later in life, this rarely happens and it’s mostly due to bad posture and aging.

Adults may have a chance of fully preventing this disorder and avoiding it altogether, but sadly it’s not preventable for children. The good news is that proper scoliosis treatment is available and should be taken seriously in the early stages of this curvature disorder. This curvature can be treated through posture corrections, surgery or bracing. This depends on how severe the curvature is.


Kyphosis is a type of curvature that makes the spine bend forward or make a “rounding” shape. It happens around the shoulders most frequently and as a result causes a hunchback effect. Just like scoliosis, kyphosis can also be congenital or it can happen for unknown reasons later in life. It can be prevented with regular exercises for good posture. So, introducing some healthy life changes in your life style can be greatly beneficial. These changes can help prevent and even reverse the damage done to the spine by kyphosis.


Lastly, lordosis is the curvature that has the effect opposite of kyphosis. While kyphosis makes the spine curve outward, lordosis makes the spine curve inward. This kind of curvature is often referred to as “swayback’. The spinal curve goes too far inward and it makes the buttocks protrude. Lordosis can happen at any point in life and it is mostly caused by one of the few possible factors that also include back conditions such as spondylolisthesis or osteoporosis, obesity, and injury. In case of the obesity, this curvature can be easily prevented by well-planned out diet plans and by losing weight. In other cases, it’s best to treat it by targeting the underlying cause.


To sum up, spinal curvature disorders can happen to people of any age. In most cases they are treatable and in some cases even reversible. Though most of them can be congenital, they can also occur due to preventable factors throughout life. There are three major types of spinal curvatures and they are treated differently based on the severity of the condition.