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What Are Spinal Deformities?

A healthy spine is slightly curved, but certain conditions can cause the spine’s normal curvature to become exaggerated. Spinal deformities may consist of a side-to-side curvature, as occurs with scoliosis, or a front-to-back curvature, as occurs with kyphosis. In adults, excessive spinal curvature can often be traced to age-related spinal degeneration. It may also result from spinal trauma or poor posture.

Spinal deformities do not always cause pain or require treatment. However, problems may arise if vertebral misalignment restricts movement or pressures a spinal nerve. A compressed nerve can produce a number of uncomfortable symptoms, including localized and radiating pain, numbness, muscle weakness and tingling sensations that travel from the spine down an arm or leg.

How are spinal deformities treated?

When a spinal deformity requires treatment, the approach taken can vary based on the nature of the spinal deformity, the extent of the spinal curvature, the amount of nerve compression present (if any) and the patient’s age and overall health. Many physicians advise their patients to begin with nonsurgical therapies to help relieve discomfort. Some treatment options for spinal deformities include:

  • A neck or back brace, which can be worn during certain activities to support and stabilize the spine
  • Physical therapy, including targeted stretches and exercises to enhance range of motion, restore balance and strengthen the muscles that support the spine
  • Over-the-counter pain relievers and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which can be taken as needed for pain relief
  • A narcotic pain reliever or epidural steroid injection, which may be prescribed for severe pain that does not respond to over-the-counter medications

While spine surgery is generally viewed as a last resort, it may be considered if nonsurgical therapy does not provide meaningful symptom relief within several weeks. The goal of a surgical procedure may be to straighten the spine or reduce pressure on a spinal nerve.

At Advanced Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine of Houston, Texas, we emphasize individualized treatment for spinal deformities and other spine conditions, recognizing that each patient is unique. Our experienced team includes board-certified and double-board-certified orthopedic surgeons, many of whom specialize in spine surgery and are well-versed in performing the latest minimally invasive techniques. We also offer on-site physical therapy and rehabilitation services, allowing our patients to receive comprehensive treatment services in a single location.

For more information about the treatment options for spinal deformities available at Advanced Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine of Houston, TX, contact us today.