What Do You Need to Know About Scoliosis?

Scoliosis is a condition characterized by the sideways curvature of the spine. In a healthy human being, the spine has curves in the cervical, thoracic, and lumbar regions. In the case of scoliosis, the curvature of the spine becomes abnormal. 

Under normal circumstances, spinal curvature acts as a shock absorber and distributes mechanical stress evenly when we move. While in scoliosis, the normal body posture gets affected. In this post, we will discuss scoliosis in detail along with its symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment. 

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What is Scoliosis?

A C or S-shaped sideways curvature of the spine is known as scoliosis. The condition is often diagnosed in adolescents. However, it can occur at any age but children between 10 and 12 years of get diagnosed with the condition the most. Besides this, scoliosis is also diagnosed in the teen years.

Scoliosis is rare in infants. If occurs, it generally affects before age 3. 

In most cases, scoliosis is mild and may not need any treatment. Sometimes, the condition is severe and affects the functioning of the lungs by reducing their space in the chest. Such cases may need surgical intervention.  

What Are the Causes of Scoliosis?

The cause of scoliosis in most cases is unknown, and such a condition is known as idiopathic scoliosis. However, studies have found that people suffering from conditions like cerebral palsy and muscular dystrophy are more prone to scoliosis. 

Well, if we talk about the exact cause of the condition, then it is still under research. However, it is believed that hereditary factors play a role in developing scoliosis as the condition is thought to run in families. Besides this, there are certain conditions that may contribute to the development of scoliosis:

  • Birth defects that affect the development of bones in the spine
  • Any surgery or infection in the spine
  • Irregularities in the spinal cord
  • Earlier surgery on the chest wall as a baby

What Are the Risk Factors for Scoliosis?

Certain risk factors that may increase the chances of scoliosis include:


Signs of scoliosis generally begin in adolescence.


Scoliosis can affect both boys and girls equally but, the risk of worsening the curve and the need for treatment is high in women. 


Studies have found that scoliosis can run in families. However, it is not necessary that scoliosis will only occur because of hereditary factors. 

What Are the Symptoms of Scoliosis?

Some of the common symptoms of scoliosis may include:

  • Uneven waist
  • Uneven shoulders
  • One hip appears higher than the other
  • One side of the rib appears coming out forward

What is the Diagnosis of Scoliosis?

Diagnosis of the condition requires a proper medical history check along with the recent growth patterns of the child. Physical examination is performed at first where the healthcare service provider asks the child to make certain movements. This is to identify the posture and difficulties that the child experiences while making such movements. Besides this, certain imaging tests may be ordered to confirm the condition:

  • Ultrasound
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)

What is the Treatment of Scoliosis?

The treatment of the condition depends on the curvature of the spine. In mild cases, no treatment is required. However, in such cases, regular checkups are required to see if the curve is worsening as the child grows. In moderate or severe cases bracing or surgery may be required. Certain factors that need to be considered to decide the feasible treatment include:

Maturity of the child

If the growth of a child’s bone has stopped, the risk of the progression of the curvature is low. In such cases, the application of braces may not help much. 

Size of the Curvature

If the curve is large, the chances of worsening of the condition are higher.


Studies have found that the risk of worsening scoliosis is higher in girls than boys. 

The surgical options available for the treatment of scoliosis include:

  • Spinal Fusion
  • Expanding rod
  • Vertebral body tethering

The surgery will require different types of spine implants