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Why Is the Natural Curvature of the Spine an “S?”

Why Is the Natural Curvature of the Spine an “S?”

Why Is the Natural Curvature of the Spine an “S?”

You may have been told to “sit up straight” or “stand straight” when you were a child, but the spine’s natural shape has curves. When you look at a spine from the sacral base to the bottom of the skull, it forms an “S” shape.

Why Are Spines “S” Shaped?

Your natural spine curvature looks like an “S” because this shape provides added shock absorption and movement, much like the curvature of a spring can redistribute weight and offer shock absorption.

Children are born with more of a “C” curved spine, but the spine naturally takes on a curved “S” shape as we develop. This shape gives us the flexibility and support to walk, run and perform daily activities. The “S” shape also means less pressure is placed on individual spine discs since they overlap with an “S” shape and do not stay fully stacked on each other.

Curves of the Spine

There are a total of five curves of the spine:

  • The cervical curve in the neck
  • The thoracic curve in the upper and mid back
  • The lumbar curve in the lower back
  • The sacral, consisting of the sacrum bone
  • The coccyx or tailbone

Spinal curves are further classified into kyphosis and lordosis. Lordosis curves are the lower back and neck curves, while kyphosis curves include the sacral and thoracic curves. The transition areas between curves of the spine are known as junctions.

Abnormalities in the Curve of the Spine

Proper spine curvature is essential for overall health, but there are a few abnormalities that can affect individuals:

  • Scoliosis: This condition usually appears in teens and it results when the spine curves incorrectly to the side.
  • Lordotic curve: In this type of condition, the back is arched due to a deep lumbar curve.
  • Kyphosis: This condition involves an excessive thoracic curve, which can cause a hunched back and a head which is pushed forward. Sometimes, kyphosis and lordotic curve are seen together.

If you have concerns about any unusual curvature of your spine or notice any loss of mobility or back pain, it is important to get a proper diagnosis and treatment plan. Spinal curve abnormalities can get worse over time if untreated and can affect your life.

Get Professional Spine Treatment Today

Spine Institute of North America has caring staff to formulate personal care plans for our patients. Our goal is to get you back to your daily life and reduce the back pain you may be experiencing. Schedule an appointment with Spine Institute of North America to learn how we can help you.

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