Curvature of the Spine

In technical terms this is thought of as a long distance disturbance in the profile of the spine. This disturbance can be either a change in the S– shape of the anterior-posterior profile, or in the lateral vertical shape.

If you should discover such a disturbance in your child or yourself, you should have a control visit at a orthopedist, because early treatment prevents more severe consequences.

Lateral Distortions

About three of every one hundred children and teenagers develop a lateral distortions of the spine with additional axial rotations. This is called scoliosis. When viewed from back to front, the spine appears in an S-shape. Usually children are affected between the age of 10 and 15. The origin is unknown in most of the cases. In many cases the distortions increases, if no treatment is performed.

If you detect the following symptoms in your child. Ask your child to slowly bend his/her back forward. Eventually, the s-shape of the spine can be seen more clearly. Look for:

  • A one-sided bulging of ribs with axial rotation
  • A one-sided lumbar bulging with axial rotation
  • A shoulder can hang lower as the other
  • A side of the hip can be higher than the other

Then scoliosis is suspected.


A view from the side shows that the thoracic spine bends outside as opposed to the sway back. If this natural S-form is more pronounced it is called humpback or hyperkyphosis.

A special form of a humpback has been described by the danish doctor Dr. Holger Scheuermann and carries his name. About 25% of all adolescents develop some excessive kyphotic curvature, boys more than girls

The disease starts at the age of 14 and 16 and is ceases at the end of adolescence. Only in severe cases will there be back pain and impairment of breath and heart function.

The treatment of scoliosis and of Scheuermanns´s Kyphosis is focused on physiotherapy, which has to be exercised during the course of the disease. Several times per week swimming, adapted sport activities and a training of posture are advised. In more severe cases of deformity a corset has to be worn over years or surgery may be necessary.

As the described treatment is only successful with a high degree of discipline, the parents have to dispense a lot of care in this difficult time to maintain the therapeutic regime.

Sway Back

In a side view it is apparent that the lumbar back compared to the thoracis spine shows a concave form. Deficits in posture, weak front muscles and strong tilt of the hip can create a sway, a hyperlordosis in medical terms, in teenagers, adults and the elderly. Also young competitive athletes who participate in swimming floor exercises, or in javelin throwing are at risk of a developing a sway back through excessive training.

A pronounced sway back may cause a persisting deformity of spinal statics. It can cause spondylolistheis or may indicate the condition.

The concave form that develops in during pregnancy is reformed after parturition (birth). Physiotherapy after birth promotes the reformation of the overstretched muscles.

Hump back and sway back can occur simultaneously often is the second one a reaction to the first one. Back pain is frequent in females and can have its origin in the female sexual organs. Uterus and ovaries are supplied by nerves that emerge from the sacrum.