Skip to main content
UC Davis Spine Center

UC Davis Spine Center

Congenital spine abnormalities

What are congenital spine abnormalities?

Many people are born with spinal abnormalities, such as an extra lumbar vertebrae, that never cause any symptoms or problems. Still, some abnormalities, like congenital scoliosis and kyphosis, must be monitored to ensure they do not progress and cause problems later in life. Other rare congenital abnormalities include:

  • Congenital torticollis, a tilt of the head that is present at birth.
  • Lordosis, curvature of the lower spine resulting in prominence of the buttocks.
  • Vertebral defects, including congenital scoliosis and vertebral defects, such as hemi-, wedge- or butterfly-shaped vertebrae.

How are congenital spine abnormalities diagnosed?

Spine center physicians use X-rays to locate and evaluate spine abnormalities.

How are congenital spine abnormalities treated?

Treatment for congenital spine abnormalities depends on the type and severity of the condition. Torticollis may be treated with physical therapy aimed at straightening out the head. Likewise, mild cases of lordosis may be treated with exercises to improve posture. Severe cases, especially those likely to worsen with age, are treated with either braces or surgery, depending on the extent of the existing curvature.