Three common types of spinal deformities exist: kyphosis, scoliosis, and spondylolisthesis. Kyphosis refers to an exaggerated curve of the spine, which often results in a rounded or hunched back. In children, this condition may relate more to posture than an underlying deformity. Structural kyphosis, however, is caused by abnormalities in the bones, nerves, ligaments, muscles, or discs.
Scoliosis is the abnormal side-to-side curvature of the spine. While the condition occurs most frequently in adolescents, adult scoliosis has become more prominent. Scoliosis results from degeneration of the spine’s facet joints.
Spondylolisthesis affects people of all ages and describes a condition in which a vertebra moves out of position, slipping forward. In children, this condition often results from a birth defect, although a stress fracture can also cause it. In adults, degeneration of intervertebral discs can cause spondylolisthesis. As discs dry and flatten, the risk of slipping vertebrae increases.