Scoliosis Research Society (SRS)
An International Organization Dedicated to the Education, Research and Treatment of Spinal Deformity
Our Mission is to Foster Optimal Care for All Patients with Spinal Deformities
This condition of side-to-side spinal curves is called scoliosis. On an x-ray, the spine of a person with scoliosis looks more like an "S" or a "C" than a straight line. Some of the bones in a scoliotic spine also may have rotated slightly, making the person's waist or shoulders appear uneven.
Scoliosis is a descriptive term and not a diagnosis. In more than 80% of the cases, a specific cause is not found. Such cases are termed idiopathic meaning "of undetermined cause." This is particularly true among the type of scoliosis seen in adolescent girls. Conditions known to cause spinal deformity are congenital spinal column abnormalities, neurological disorders, genetic conditions and a multitude of other causes. Scoliosis does not come from carrying heavy things, athletic involvement, sleeping/standing postures, or minor lower limb length inequality.
To learn more about the various types of scoliosis, click here.
What is Kyphosis?
The normal spine, when viewed from behind, appears straight throughout its entire length. However, when one looks at the spine from the side, there are two visible curvatures. There is a gentle rounding of the upper back from the shoulders to the bottom of the ribcage known as thoracic kyphosis and an opposite curve in the lower back known as lumbar lordosis. These two opposite curvatures of the spine are necessary in the normal spine to balance the trunk and head over the pelvis.
A normal thoracic spine extends from the 1st to the 12th vertebra and should have a slight kyphosis ranging from 20o to 45o. When the "roundness" of the upper spine increases past 45o it is called "hyperkyphosis". Scheuermann's kyphosis is the most classic form of hyperkyphosis and is the result of wedged vertebrae that develop during adolescence. In adults, patients can develop hyperkyphosis for other reasons causing them to lean forward. This is known as sagittal imbalance.
To learn more about kyphosis, hyperkyphosis, and sagittal imbalance, click here.
What is Spondylolysis and Spondylolisthesis?
What are common causes of back pain in children?
The spine is able to bend and twist due to motion through the discs in the front of the spine and facets in the back of the spine. These stabilizing structures allow motion while maintaining the alignment and stability of the spine. At times, a stress fracture occurs separating the vertebra from its stabilizing facet. This is called “spondylolysis”. This may be associated with a slip in the bones where the upper vertebra moves in front of the lower vertebra. This is called “spondylolisthesis”.
To learn more about spondylolysis, spondylolisthesis, and other causes of low back pain in children, please, click here.