In today's climate of evidence based medicine, there is an increasing emphasis on objective assessment to monitor treatment effectiveness. Although spinal posture and back shape are commonly assessed by clinicians, current practice is based on subjective findings and unreliable objective tools. Numerous management protocols aim to improve both posture and shape, however data related to normal back shape is quite scarce. The aim of this study was to investigate normal back shape in young adults, in order to produce normative values against which deformity could be defined. The Integrated Shape Imaging System (ISIS) was used to measure the three-dimensional back shape. A convenience sample of 48 normal adults, aged 18-28 volunteered to participate in this study. A small minority of individuals showed no curve (8%), 55% showed a single curve and the rest showed a double one. Right spinal asymmetry was more frequent than the left (77% to 52%). Mean values and 95% confidence intervals were 14.1° (11.7°-16.5°) for upper Lateral asymmetry, 5.6° (3.3° - 7.9°) for lower lateral asymmetry, 24.9mm (20.6mm -29.2mm) for thoracic kyphosis and 14.9mm (12.5mm -17.2mm) for lumbar lordosis. Increasing upper lateral asymmetry correlated with decreasing thoracic kyphosis (p=0.01). Maximum skin surface angle correlated positively with only upper lateral asymmetry (p<0.0001). Similar topographical interrelationships have been demonstrated in scoliosis. It is important that clinicians in relevant disciplines objectively assess all three dimensions of back shape, as our research shows that changes in one plane are associated with changes in the other two planes.