First Time User? Sign Up Now
First Time User? Enroll now.
Home > Health Library > Spinal Curves in Scoliosis
Doctors use X-ray images of a person's spine to measure spinal curvature. A curve or angle of the spine is measured in degrees and describes how severe the curve is. (The angle is determined by the intersection of lines projected from the top and bottom of the curve.) If the spine is straight, there is no angle; this would be a 0-degree curve. If the spine is curved, the angle can be measured. The larger the curve, the larger the angle or degree measurement. For example, a 10-degree curve is considered a mild curve, and a 50-degree curve is considered a severe curve.
Many people have some curve in their spine. In fact, spinal curves that are less than 10 degrees are considered a normal variation of the spine. Curves that are greater than 10 degrees may be monitored (to see whether the curve is getting worse) or may need treatment.
In addition to the severity of the curve, curves are described by their direction and location.
Current as ofSeptember 20, 2018
Author: Healthwise StaffMedical Review: John Pope, MD, MPH - PediatricsAdam Husney, MD - Family MedicineKathleen Romito, MD - Family MedicineRobert B. Keller, MD - Orthopedics
Current as of:
September 20, 2018
Medical Review:John Pope, MD, MPH - Pediatrics & Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Robert B. Keller, MD - Orthopedics
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2018 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
UNC Medical Center
101 Manning Drive
Chapel Hill, NC 27514
UNC Health Care Citrix
UNC Medical Center Intranet
Copyright 2019 UNC Health Care. All rights reserved.