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Symptoms and Signs of Scoliosis

Doctor's Notes on Scoliosis

Scoliosis is an abnormal curvature of the spine. There are multiple types of scoliosis, classified by age of onset and/or cause including congenital scoliosis that is present at birth, infantile scoliosis that affects patients younger than 3 years of age, juvenile scoliosis that is seen in children 3-10 years of age, idiopathic scoliosis (most common type) seen in children 11-16 years of age, neuromuscular scoliosis that is caused by associated disease processes that affect the neurologic or muscular systems, and adult-acquired scoliosis is due to acquired degenerative changes as the spine ages in patients over the age of 18.

Symptoms of scoliosis include the patients head appears off center and does not line up with the pelvis, one hip or shoulder may be higher than the other, the child may walk with a rolling gait, the opposite sides of the body may not appear level, the child may experience back pain or tire easily during activities that require excessive chest and belly movement, one side of the rib cage or lower back may seem more prominent (humpback), the chest may seem sunken in on one side, in girls one breast may seem smaller than the other, and the child may appear to have an uneven waist.

Medical Author: John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP
Medically Reviewed on 3/11/2019


Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.