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"What is it called if your back is out of line?"

ZocdocAnswersWhat is it called if your back is out of line?


My back/spine feels like it is all out of line. I just feel kind of crooked. Is there a name for this? How is it treated? Should I just go to a chiropractor?


You have described a medical condition called scoliosis. Scoliosis is an abnormal curvature of the spine normally discovered in adolescents, which may develop as a single curve shaped like the letter C or as two curves shaped like the letter S. This abnormal curvature of the spine is caused by the misalignment of the core skeleton. This condition may lead to ligament and muscle aches and pain due to the soft tissue structures being overstretched and damaged consequently leading to inflammation and fatigue of these structures. Having said all of this, a mild scoliosis is usually not painful. Do you experience any pain? What is your age? The vast majority of adolescents with scoliosis experience no related pain. If you are an adolescent and experience severe pain, it is concerning and may have other related abnormalities to your spine and musculature that are beyond your scoliosis. On the other hand, if you are an adult and your scoliosis is moderate to severe, your spine may undergo degenerative changes, which reduce water content in the discs and produce inflammation in the joints so that such "pinched nerves" may occur as a result of a disc herniation. Most cases are minor and don't require treatment, but when they do, your orthopedist may measure the curvature of your spine in degrees. The number of degrees helps the doctor decide what type of treatment is necessary. For instance, if your curve is less than 20, no treatment is needed. On the other hand, if it is 20 to 40 degrees, your doctor will generally suggest a back brace. An angle of 40 or 50 degrees or more may mean that surgery is necessary. Based on your description, I think you have scoliosis. But the most accurate way to diagnosis it is to see a primary care physician first for an evaluation.

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