Acute Flaccid Myelitis (AFM)

Acute flaccid myelitis (AFM) is a serious, polio-like illness that affects the spinal cord.

Adjacent Segment Disease (ASD)

Adjacent segment disease (ASD) is a spinal disorder that may develop after spinal fusion (e.g., instrumentation, bone graft).

Adult Scoliosis

Adult scoliosis occurs when the spine curves abnormally to the left or right.

Ankylosing Spondylitis Topic Center

Ankylosing spondylitis is also known as Marie-Strumpell disease or Bechterew’s disease. It’s a form of inflammatory arthritis that primarily affects your spine.


Arachnoiditis is a debilitating condition characterized by severe stinging and burning pain and neurologic problems.

Avascular Necrosis (AVN)/Kummel Disease

Avascular necrosis (AVN) develops when a bone loses its blood supply.

Back Pain and Spine Disorders in U.S. Veterans

For our veteran population, spine impairment can be a leading cause of disability.

Bulge vs. Herniation

Sometimes, being able to spot the differences in something is not only elusive to lay people, but to professionals as well.

Burners and Stingers

Burners and stingers are injuries that occur when nerves in the neck and shoulder are stretched or compressed after an impact.

Burst Fracture

A burst fracture is a descriptive term for an injury to the spine in which the vertebral body is severely compressed.

Cauda Equina Syndrome

Although leg pain is common and usually goes away without surgery, cauda equina syndrome, a rare disorder affecting the bundle of nerve roots (cauda equina) at the lower (lumbar) end of the spinal cord, is a surgical emergency.

Cauda Equina Syndrome (CES)

Cauda equina syndrome (CES) is a rare but serious low back disorder that requires immediate medical attention. 

Chiari Malformation

Chiari malformation is a condition that causes brain tissue to settle into the spinal canal.

Coccydynia (Tailbone Pain)

Tailbone pain can make sitting and leaning back very uncomfortable. But on the bright side, most people with tailbone pain respond very well to conservative treatment.

Congenital Scoliosis

Congenital scoliosis is a sideways curvature of the spine that is caused by a defect that was present at birth.

Degenerative Disc Disease Topic Center

Sooner or later, your spinal discs – the shock absorbing pads between each vertebra – start to wear out. That can lead to degenerative disc disease (DDD).


Like any part of the body, the spine can become infected. Although spinal infections are uncommon, when they occur, they can be devastating.

Drop Foot (Foot Drop) and Footdrop Gait

Drop foot and foot drop are interchangeable terms that describe an abnormal neuromuscular (nerve and muscle) disorder that affects the patient's ability to raise their foot at the ankle.

Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome/Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction and Pain

These joints can become unstable and painful for several reasons—and one cause is a rare genetic condition called Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS).

Extradural and Intradural Tumors

Tumors of the spine, their treatment and prognosis are varied.

Failed Back Surgery Syndrome

Whether immediately or months after your procedure, pain and other symptoms may return—a phenomenon known as failed back surgery (FBS).

Fibromyalgia Topic Center

Every illness has its own unique set of challenges, but there’s something about an “invisible illness” that has even more hurdles.

Fixed Sagittal Imbalance

‘Sagittal’ is a medical term associated with the Sagittal Plane, which refers to the appearance of the spine when viewed from the side.

Flatback Syndrome

Flatback syndrome was initially described in a series of patients who had been treated with Harrington spinal instrumentation.

Herniated Disk

A herniated disk is a condition that can occur anywhere along the spine, but most often occurs in the lower back.

Herniated Disk Animation

Follow the link to view an animation of herniation in a vertebral disk.

Idiopathic Scoliosis in Children and Adolescents

Scoliosis is a condition that causes the spine to curve sideways. There are several different types of scoliosis that affect children and adolescents.

Introduction to Scoliosis

This article provides answers to questions parents and their children often have when first diagnosed with scoliosis, including information about causes, screenings and current research.

Kissing Spine/Baastrup's Sign

Baastrup’s sign is known by other names including, Baastrup’s syndrome, Baastrup’s disease, Kissing spine syndrome or interspinous bursitis.

Kyphosis (Roundback) of the Spine

Kyphosis is a spinal disorder in which an excessive outward curve of the spine results in an abnormal rounding of the upper back.

Kyphosis Topic Center

Even though hyperkyphosis is the term for an abnormal curve, doctors tend to use "kyphosis” for both normal and abnormal curvature.

Nerve Injuries

Nerves are fragile and can be damaged by pressure, stretching, or cutting.

Neurogenic Bladder Disorder

Spinal disorders or injuries that cause nerve compression or damage may cause Neurogenic Bladder Disorder (NBD); also termed Bladder Dysfunction.

Neuromuscular Scoliosis

Scoliosis is a condition that causes the spine to curve sideways. Neuromuscular scoliosis (NMS) is a type of scoliosis that can occur in children who have medical conditions that impair their ability to control the muscles that support the spine. 


Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis. It is the leading cause of disability in older adults and may affect as many as 27 million Americans.

Osteopenia (Low Bone Mass Density, Not Osteoporosis)

Osteopenia is the thinning of bone mass. While this decrease in bone mass is not usually considered "severe," it is considered a very serious risk factor for the development of osteoporosis.


Osteoporosis is the most common bone disease in the United States and developed countries.

Osteoporosis and Spinal Fractures

Fractures caused by osteoporosis most often occur in the spine.

Osteoporosis Information

Osteoporosis is a disease of progressive bone loss associated with an increased risk of fractures. The term osteoporosis literally means porous bone.

Osteoporosis Topic Center

More than 12 million Americans over age 50 have osteoporosis and over 50 million more have low bone density (osteopenia), putting them at risk for osteoporosis.

Paget's Disease

Paget’s disease, also known as osteitis deformans, is the second most common bone disorder in the United States (behind osteoporosis).

Pediatric (Children) Spinal Tumors

Spinal tumors, also called neoplasms, are abnormal growths of tissue found inside the spinal column.

Pinched Nerve

Pinched spinal nerves can develop suddenly or gradually. Sudden compression usually occurs in the setting of an acute joint problem called a “herniated disc,” also discussed in more detail elsewhere.

Rheumatoid Arthritis Topic Center

“Arthritis” is an umbrella term used to explain inflammation, joint pain and joint disease in one or more joints. There are more than 100 types of arthritis, and RA is the second-most common.

Sacroiliac Joint (SI Joint) Topic Center

Sacroiliac (SI) joint dysfunction is a common cause of low back pain.

Scapular (Shoulder Blade) Disorders

An alteration in scapular positioning or motion can make it difficult to move your arm, especially when performing overhead activities, and may cause your shoulder to feel weak.

Scheuermann's Kyphosis, Scheuermann's Disease

One particular type of kyphosis is Scheuermann’s kyphosis, also known as Scheuermann’s disease.


Sciatica may feel like a bad leg cramp, with pain that is sharp ("knife-like"), or electrical. The cramp can last for weeks before it goes away.

Sciatica Topic Center

When low back pain radiates through the buttocks and down the leg, the symptoms are known as sciatica.


There are many causes of scoliosis, but AIS is the most common.

Scoliosis in Children

Scoliosis is a medical term taken from a Greek word meaning curvature. This disorder may develop during childhood, and it causes the spine to curve to the left or right side.

Scoliosis: Frequently Asked Questions

Children with scoliosis and their parents have a lot of questions about the condition. In this series of four articles, orthopaedic surgeons from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and the Scoliosis Research Society answer some of the questions they most commonly hear from patients and their parents.

SI Joint Pain

The sacroiliac (SI) joint can be a source of back pain for many patients. The joint is composed of the sacrum (bottom portion of the spine) and the iliac crest (part of your pelvis).

Slipping Rib Syndrome

Costal chondritis, costochondritis and Tietze syndrome are sometimes used interchangeably and characterized by inflammation of the part of the rib that is cartilage.

Spina Bifida

Spina bifida is a neural tube defect resulting in mild to severe disabilities, depending on where the unprotected portion of the spinal cord is and how much is exposed.

Spinal Cord Injuries

Spinal fractures occur when an injury is sustained to the spine resulting in a break or disruption of the spinal vertebrae or the attached ligaments.

Spondylolisthesis Topic Center

Spondylolisthesis occurs when one vertebra slips forward over the vertebra below it.

Spondylolysis and Spondylolysthesis

The spine is made up of a series of connected bones called "vertebrae." In about 5% of the adult population, there is a developmental crack in one of the vertebrae, usually at the point at which the lower (lumbar) part of the spine joins the tailbone (sacrum).


Technically, spondylosis is a form of arthritis—spinal osteoarthritis (osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis) to be exact.

Sports Injuries

Although not common, back and neck injuries can occur in young athletes who participate in sports.

Sprains and Strains

A back sprain or strain can occur when you lift too much weight, play a strenuous sport, or even bend or twist improperly during the course of a regular day.


Syringomyelia is a progressive disorder in which a fluid-filled cyst, or syrinx, forms within the spinal cord.

Tailbone Pain

Tailbone pain can make sitting and leaning back very uncomfortable. But on the bright side, most people with tailbone pain respond very well to conservative treatment.

Tarlov Cysts

A Tarlov cyst (TC) is a fluid-filled sac that can develop anywhere in the spine affecting the nerve roots.

Whiplash and Whiplash Associated Disorder

The spine is a long chain of bones, discs, muscles and ligaments that extends from the base of the skull to the tip of the tailbone.