The spine starts from the base of the neck and extends to the lower part of the back. It is a crucial, but often neglected, part of the body. It serves several demanding functions such as supporting the head, shoulders, and limbs; protecting the spinal cord; and enabling you to move around, twist, and bend.
The spine is broadly divided into three segments: cervical (in the neck), thoracic (in the chest), and lumbar (in the lower back). When viewed from the side, the normal curvature of the spine is such that the cervical and lumbar spine are “C” shaped, whereas the thoracic spine is in a “reverse-C” shape.
Deviations in the normal curvature of the spine are called spinal deformities. They can include:
- Kyphosis (commonly known as round-back or hunchback)
- Lordosis (also known as swayback)
- Flatback syndrome (the spinal curvature is reduced)
- Scoliosis (sideways curvature of the spine)
What is kyphosis vs. lordosis?
- Kyphosis: It is a type of spinal deformity in which there is an excessive forward curvature of the spine, resulting in an abnormal rounding of the upper back.
- Lordosis: It is a type of spinal deformity in which there is an excessive backward curvature of the spine, resulting in the abdomen appearing protruded forward, whereas the hip area appears to be pushed backward.
What are the types of kyphosis vs. lordosis?
There are three main types of kyphosis:
- Postural kyphosis: It is the commonest type of kyphosis. It occurs due to poor posture or slouching. It does not result in serious structural abnormalities.
- Scheuermann's kyphosis: It occurs due to severe structural abnormality in the spine. The curve is generally sharp and rigid.
- Congenital kyphosis: It is present since birth. Congenital kyphosis results from the abnormal development of the spine when the baby is in the womb.
Lordosis has five main types:
- Postural lordosis: It occurs due to being overweight and lack of conditioning in the muscles of the core (abdomen and back).
- Traumatic lordosis: This occurs due to an injury of the spine causing a forward curvature of the spine.
- Post-surgical laminectomy hyperlordosis: Hyperlordosis means excessive forward curving of the spine. It may occur after a laminectomy surgery that involves the removal of parts of the vertebrae (spinal bones).
- Neuromuscular lordosis: Various diseases of the nerve and muscles can cause this type of lordosis.
- Lordosis secondary to hip flexion contracture: This type of lordosis occurs because of hip flexion contracture (an abnormality of the hip joint).
What are the symptoms of kyphosis vs. lordosis?
The symptoms of kyphosis may include:
- A visible hump in the upper back
- The head is usually bent forward
- The upper back appears higher than normal on bending forward
- Back pain/stiffness
- Easy fatigability
- The shoulders appear excessively rounded
- Breathing difficulty
- Tightness in the hamstrings (the muscles at the back of the thigh)
The symptoms of lordosis may include:
What is the treatment for kyphosis vs. lordosis?
- The treatment of kyphosis varies depending on various factors such as the cause and severity of kyphosis and age and general conditions of the patient. Postural kyphosis may be managed with postural correction.
- The doctor may prescribe medications for pain. Physical therapy coupled with observation may be needed in many cases. The doctor may recommend wearing a brace in some patients. Surgery may be done when conservative treatment does not control the symptoms or when the kyphosis is severe.
- The treatment of lordosis depends on factors such as the cause and severity of lordosis. Medical attention is necessary because neglected lordosis can cause serious complications. The doctor may prescribe pain medications and physical therapy. Surgery may be done in severe lordosis or when nerve involvement is present.
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