Spinal Deformity

OverviewTreatments

Symptoms

Spinal deformity is not always painful. Pain may arise if the misshapen spine causes nerve root compression or irritation. Pain may also come from the facet or sacroiliac joints.

Description

Spinal deformity generally involves abnormal curvature of the spine. Scoliosis and kyphosis are types of spinal deformity. The curves may result from degenerative changes, fractures, infection, malignancy or structural changes following spine surgery.

Treatment for spinal deformity depends on the type of problem and its severity as well as patient age. Pain is treated in much the same manner as nerve root compression, stenosis or joint pain. If there are significant structural problems, surgery may be undertaken.

Full Description of Spinal Deformity Conditions

Spinal deformity conditions generally involve abnormal curvature of the spine. Scoliosis and kyphosis are types of spinal deformity conditions. The curves may result from degenerative changes, fractures, infection, malignancy or structural changes following spine surgery. Some types of deformity are due to the spine being misshapen as the person grows from childhood. Spinal deformity conditions may or may not cause pain. Pain in patients with a spinal deformity condition may arise from the curved spine compressing or irritating nerves, or from the facet or sacroiliac joints.

Screening and Diagnosis for a Spinal Deformity Condition

A physical examination will be performed to evaluate the curve and to begin addressing symptoms that may be present. The most common means of evaluating spinal deformity is through imaging such as X-ray, MRI or CT. It is important to rule out possible causes such as fracture of the vertebral bodies, infection or malignancy. In patients with pain, diagnostic workup may include evaluations for nerve root compression, facet joint pain and/or pain arising from the sacroiliac joint.

Treatments for Spinal Deformity Conditions

The treatment for spinal deformity conditions depends on the type of the problem, age of the patient and pain severity. Pain is treated in much the same manner as nerve root compression, stenosis, facet joint pain or sacroiliac joint pain, depending on the results of the diagnostic evaluation. If there are significant structural problems, surgery may be undertaken in an effort to re-align the spine or stop progression of a worsening deformity. It is important to discuss treatment options with your doctor in deciding which treatment, if any, may be best for you.

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