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What is Scoliosis?

Patient Comments
  • Our spine is an engineering marvel that supports our weight and ties our body together.
    • The spinal column consists of a stack of small bones that range in size from 2-3 inches to 5-6 inches in diameter.
    • When viewed from the front, the spine appears to be straight, but when looked at from the side, the normal spine has two gentle S-curves.
  • Scoliosis is an abnormal curvature of the spine. In scoliosis, the spine curves to the side when viewed from the front, and each vertebra also twists on the next one in a corkscrew fashion.
  • Scoliosis affects girls twice as often as it affects boys.
  • Scoliosis usually occurs in those older than 10 years, but the condition can be seen in infants.

Scoliosis Causes

In most cases, the cause of scoliosis is unknown (what doctors call idiopathic). The other of cases fall into two groups:

  • Nonstructural (functional): This type of scoliosis is a temporary condition when the spine is otherwise normal. The curvature occurs as the result of another problem. Examples include one leg being shorter than another, from muscle spasms due to injury, or from abdominal problems such as appendicitis.
  • Structural: In this type of scoliosis, the spine is not normal. The curvature is caused by another disease process such as a birth defect, muscular dystrophy, metabolic diseases, and connective tissue disorders such as Marfan's syndrome.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 2/12/2016
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Patient Comments & Reviews

The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Scoliosis:

Scoliosis - Treatment

How was your scoliosis treated?

Scoliosis - Experience

Please describe your experience with scoliosis (abnormal curve in the spine).

Scoliosis: Wearing a Brace

The cosmetic aspects of scoliosis and the braces used to treat it may greatly affect a child or teen.

Teenagers may find wearing a brace devastating to their self-image. Most braces should be worn for 20 hours a day or more, usually for several years. It is very difficult to get teens to wear the brace for as many hours as their doctors recommend. They don't like how the braces look or feel.

SOURCE: Healthwise

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