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When viewed from the front, the healthy spine is straight. Viewed from the side, the mature spine has four distinct curves. These normal spinal curves are described as being either kyphotic or lordotic.
A kyphotic curve is a convex curve in the spine (i.e. convexity towards the back of the spine). The curves in the thoracic and sacral spine are kyphotic.
A lordotic curve is concave (i.e. concavity towards the back of the spine), and is found in the cervical and lumbar levels of the spine.