The spine consists of many small bones; the vertebrae, which are separated from each other by a cushion of cartilage known as the inter-vertebral disc.

Projections from the back of the vertebra enclose a canal through which passes the spinal cord consisting of nerve cells and fibres.

These projections from the back of the vertebra connect with the ones above and below by means of small joints.

Viewed from the side the spine has two S curves, one above the other. The end result, functionally, results in a vertical position and viewed from the front or back the spine is straight.

In the condition known as scoliosis there is a sideways curve of the spine which is complicated by a rotational deformity. In the chest this rotation can affect the ribs and distort the chest cavity.

Once a kink develops in the spine a corresponding tilt must also develop the other way at some other level so as to enable the person to stand upright.

Sometimes scoliosis may be secondary to muscle weakness or paralysis, such as may occur with poliomyelitis.

Sometimes the condition is due to poor posture in the child, but under this condition it is always mild.


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