Treatment for Spinal Deformities

A healthy spine has a natural curve that resembles a gently curved S when viewed from the side.

The curve allows motion. It also helps the spine bear weight and absorb stress from gravity and body movement.  In some cases, the natural curvature of the spine becomes misaligned. Spinal deformities therapy is required to relieve the resulting symptoms and align and stabilize the spine.

Types of Spinal Deformities

There are various reasons a spine can curve abnormally:

  • Scoliosis – A spine with scoliosis will have a side-to-side curve. It can be a result of tumors, birth defects, muscular dystrophy, or genetic conditions such as Down’s syndrome.
  • Lordosis (Swayback) – Lordosis typically affects the lumbar spine, causing an extreme forward curve in the lower back. Obesity and poor posture can lead to lordosis.
  • Kyphosis (Hunchback) – Kyphosis is characterized by a backward curve in the thoracic spine. Some individuals are born with this condition. Poor posture and muscle weakness can also cause kyphosis.

Diagnosing Spinal Deformities

Imaging tests such as X-rays, MRI, and CT scans are performed to verify the existence and extent of spinal deformity. These tests can help with the assessment of the overall bone anatomy and the alignment and curvature of the vertebral column.


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Symptoms of Spinal Deformity

Spinal problems may be detected before birth via prenatal ultrasound or shortly after. Certain types such as idiopathic scoliosis usually appear during adolescence.

Common symptoms of spinal deformity include:

  • Appearance of a side-to-side curvature
  • Asymmetry in shoulders or waist
  • A round upper back
  • Unusual back pain

Traditional Treatments

  • Medication – Prescription drugs such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) and ibuprofen (Advil) are recommended to minimize pain.
  • Bracing – Scoliosis bracing prevents curvatures that are more than 25 degrees from progressing. They are often recommended for children and adolescents whose bones are still growing.
  • Spinal fusion surgery – Spinal fusion can address severe spinal deformities. This type of surgery involves connecting a vertebral bone to an adjacent vertebral bone to grow one long bone.


Although traditional treatments may relive pain from spinal deformities temporarily, they don’t solve pain at their source. And worse yet, most only have a 45% success rate, and there is no guarantee that symptoms won’t recur.

At Superior Physical Therapy, we concentrate on addressing the root source of pain to successfully reverse a spinal deformity. We offer a range of safe and noninvasive treatment options including:

Full-body Movement Assessment
Successful healing begins with discovering the root cause of the patient’s pain. In most cases, pain in one area is only a symptom of a larger issue. In a full-body movement assessment, the source of the problem is identified by examining the movement of nearby or connected parts. This allows movement to be restored and the body to complete the healing process.

Hands-on Manual Therapy
The Superior Method employs the help of a trained therapist certified in functional manual reaction. The therapist uses their hands to facilitate proper motion, improving areas of restriction. This is similar to deep tissue massage, but it incorporates movement.

Prescriptive Home Exercise Program
The Superior Method aims to educate patients on how the body moves to safely ease pain and restore function. With our smartphone app called Movement RX, we empower patients with the knowledge and tools needed to attain long-term physical freedom. All of the instructions provided by your physician will also be video-recorded and sent directly to your email or mobile device.

Applied Functional Science
This principles-based method is designed to improve how the mind, body, and spirit work together to facilitate complete healing. All Superior Physical Therapy providers are Fellows of Applied Functional Science through the Gray Institute. This organization is led by the reputable physical therapist, Dr. Gary Gray.

Deep Muscle Stimulation
Mechanical vibrations that penetrate deep into the muscle tissue enable tissue regeneration and improve the lactic cycle, which is one of the most common causes of pain. The procedure also helps boost circulation and lymphatic flow to alleviate pain.

Dry Needling
A fast, safe, and virtually pain-free method to reduce pain and address musculoskeletal presentations. In dry needling, trigger points or local contractures are stimulated by monofilament needles.

McKenzie Therapy
The McKenzie Method® of Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy® (MDT) is a distinguished and internationally researched method of diagnosis and treatment for spinal and extremity musculoskeletal conditions. Created by New Zealand Physiotherapist Robin McKenzie, this system has been used globally for over 60 years. MDT-certified clinicians assess and treat all types of musculoskeletal disorders including complications in the spine, muscles, tendons, and extremity joints.

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