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Scoliosis: condition of the spine that affects a large number of people

Scoliosis: condition of the spine that affects a large number of people

Scoliosis is a condition of the spine that involves an abnormal curvature of the spine. Although the spine has natural curves in the lumbar, thoracic and cervical regions, they form a straight line in the center of the back. With scoliosis, the spine curves to one side instead of maintaining its normal straight curvature. The three main types of scoliosis are:

  • Idiopathic: Idiopathic scoliosis comprises 80% of all scoliosis cases and it is diagnosed when no definitive cause is seen. This type of scoliosis is usually diagnosed in adolescence.
  • Congenital: With congenital scoliosis, patients are born with an abnormal curvature of the spine due to malformation of one or more vertebrae while they are in the womb. This malformation can occur in any part of the spine. Since congenital scoliosis is present in patients at birth, it is usually detected in patients at a young age.
  • Neuromuscular: If you are diagnosed with neuromuscular scoliosis, the cause of the abnormal spinal curvature is likely to be an underlying disease. These conditions include cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, spina bifida, or spinal cord trauma. Neuromuscular scoliosis usually progress more rapidly than idiopathic scoliosis, so surgery is usually necessary.

When mild, scoliosis has few or no symptoms. On the other hand, severe scoliosis can cause widespread problems in your body. Over time, mild scoliosis can worsen as a person ages and their spine develops. For this reason, doctors closely monitor children with mild scoliosis with X-ray imaging and routine checkups to see if their conditions worsen.


  • Uneven shoulders
  • One shoulder blade that appears more prominent than the other
  • Uneven waist
  • One side of the waist appears higher than the other
  • A part of the rib cage facing outwards
  • Protrudes more on one side of your back when leaning forward

With most cases of scoliosis, the spine will rotate or twist, as well as curve from side to side. This causes the ribs or muscles on one side of the body to stick out more than those on the other side.


Doctors do not know the causes of the most common type of scoliosis, although it appears to involve hereditary factors, since this disorder is usually transmitted from parents to children. Less common types of scoliosis may be caused by:

  • Certain neuromuscular conditions, such as cerebral palsy or muscular dystrophy
  • Birth defects that affect the formation of the bones of the spine
  • Previous surgeries on the chest wall in the first months of life
  • Spinal injuries or infections
  • Spinal cord abnormalities

Risk factor's

The risk factors for suffering from the most common type of scoliosis are:

  • Age. Signs and symptoms typically begin in adolescence.
  • Sex. Although both boys and girls suffer from mild scoliosis in approximately the same proportion, girls are at greater risk of the curvature worsening and requiring treatment.
  • Family background. Scoliosis can be hereditary, but most children who have it have no family history of the disease.

A spine doctor can evaluate symptoms, offer testing, an accurate diagnosis, and effective treatment.

Remember that prevention is better than cure

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