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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
In addition to the severity of the curve, curves
are described by their direction and location.
July 21, 2011
John Pope, MD - Pediatrics & Robert B. Keller, MD - Orthopedics
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