Terminology – Positional and Directional

Whether describing the condition itself, or positions or movements required for therapy, many important anatomical terms come into play for scoliosis, making it easy to get baffled and confused.  Hopefully, this reference will help.

To avoid redundancy (referencing many of the terms with “see illustration for Planes”, just note that many of these terms are illustrated there.

  • Antero/Anterior – Frontal or toward the head (opposite of Posterior)
  • Caudal/Caudally: Caudal, essentially, means “the tail”. In practice, this means toward the feet, in humans.
  • Coronal Plane: (aka Frontal Plane) Side to side.  The scoliotic curve is in this plane
  • Cranial/Cranially: Toward the head. Opposite of Caudally.
  • Planes Illustration


  • Posterior: behind or toward the back or bottom (opposite from Anterior)
  • Prone: Laying on stomach
  • Sagittal plane: Vertical Front to back.
  • Supine: Laying on back
  • Transverse plane: A horizontal plane.  While coronal and sagittal planes are typically referenced relative to center, the transverse plane may be relative to a specific horizontal “slice”, such as the plane at the T4 Thoracic vertebra or possibly at the knees… wherever.

Disclaimer:  I am not, in any way, medically trained and you should seek professional medical advice before making any decisions based on information found here.

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