A straight spine is a medical issue.
About the Straight Spine
A spine is supposed to be curved in order to maximize weight bearing. The spine is actually shaped like an S, when it is seen from the side. The cervical (neck) and lumbar (lower back) regions have a lordosis (“curve, with the open end…towards the posterior”), whereas the thoracic (middle) spine area has a kyphosis (“curve, with the open end… towards the anterior”). When a patient has a straight spine, perhaps due to losing lumbar lordosis, it can cause pain. There are several reasons why the curvature of the spine may be lost.1 In flat back syndrome, the patient’s lower back curve flattens, causing the patient to lean forward and perhaps have leg and back pain. This makes it difficult for the patients to stand up straight.2 Straight back syndrome is a condition where patients lose thoracic kyphosis, and they also have heart symptoms.3
What is Scoliosis?
Any abnormal sideways curve of the spine is called scoliosis. If it is curved to the left, it is called levoscoliosis, whereas a curve to the right is called dextroscoliosis.4 Scoliosis pain can vary, and patients may have no pain. Scoliosis is often found in children and young adults, but scoliosis in adults can also occur. If there is back pain in scoliosis, which is not typically present in children in teens, it is due to the curve stressing nerves, muscles, discs, facet joints, or ligaments. Scoliosis may not be the cause of back pain in adults, but if the curvature worsens in adulthood, or becomes severe, it could trigger back pain and troubles with breathing. Kyphosis can also show symptoms like scoliosis.5
To limit the curvature of scoliosis, early diagnosis and treatment is recommended. Some patients may need to wear a brace. As the spine grows, deformity worsens, and surgery may be the end result. Kyphosis can lead to a rounded appearance of the back. It is caused by osteoporosis, long-term steroid use, spine tumors, poor posture, and other contributing factors. Exercise can help with back pain. In some cases a brace may be needed. Again, surgery could become a factor (if the curve is more than 75 degrees).6 Straight back syndrome may respond well to spinal manipulation. In a case study, a patient with SBS was successfully treated with “chiropractic manipulative therapy, soft tissue treatment, and active exercise” without using “invasive treatment”.7 Chiropractic care can also benefit patients with kyphosis by decreasing muscle spasms, helping with inflammation, optimizing motion, reducing pain, and slowing degeneration. Techniques might include spinal manipulation, flexion-distraction, instrument-assisted manipulation, and other manual therapies.8 To treat back pain associated with scoliosis, patients may wish to seek chiropractic manipulation, electrical muscle stimulation, and advice on exercises.9
Learn more about chiropractic options for scoliosis.