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Scoliosis is a lateral curvature of the spine (or spine). It usually begins in childhood or adolescence. Scoliosis is defined as a curve in the spine that is more than 10 degrees on an X-ray. The curve’s angle can be small, huge, or anywhere in between. This curve is described by doctors using the letters “C” and “S.”


There are several different types of Scoliosis. These include:

  • Idiopathic Scoliosis: Scoliosis with no known cause is referred to as idiopathic scoliosis. Doctors are unable to discover the exact cause of a bowed spine.
  • Congenital Scoliosis: This condition develops in a baby’s back before birth. The spine might bend due to problems with the vertebrae. It’s possible that the vertebrae aren’t complete or aren’t dividing appropriately. Doctors can detect this unusual abnormality once the infant is born. It’s also possible they won’t discover it until they’re in their adolescence stage.
  • Neuromuscular Scoliosis: Spina bifida, cerebral palsy, or spinal cord damage can all result in neuromuscular scoliosis. Your muscles may be damaged due to this, and your spine may not be adequately supported. As a result, your back might curve
  • Degenerative scoliosis: Usually, adults have degenerative scoliosis. It occurs predominantly in the lower back as the spine’s discs and joints wear down with age.


In the majority of cases, the reason for scoliosis is unknown (known as idiopathic). As with several other varieties of scoliosis, this type of scoliosis is classified according to the age at which it manifests. About 2 percent of females and 0.5 percent of males have scoliosis.

  • Infantile idiopathic scoliosis occurs in children under three (or early-onset, which is associated with other problems like chest wall deformities, spina bifida, and others).
  • Juvenile idiopathic scoliosis might occur between the ages of 3 and 10.
  • Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis affects people between the ages of 10 and 18.

Idiopathic scoliosis, the most prevalent type of scoliosis, affects more than 80% of people with scoliosis, most of whom are adolescent females; the most common for scoliosis is in the thoracic spine. Scoliosis is commonly referred to by more exact names or terminology in the medical literature:

  • A combination of visible and lateral spine curvature is known as kyphoscoliosis.
  • Dextroscoliosis is a curvature on the right side of the spine.
  • The curvature of the vertebral column is twisted on its axis in rotoscoliosis (rotatory).
  • The term levoconvex refers to a left-curving spine.
  • The curvature of both the thoracic and lumbar portions of the spine is referred to as thoracolumbar curvature.


Scoliosis can manifest itself in a variety of ways. Schedule an appointment with our doctor from Realign spine if you detect one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Shoulders are unbalanced, with one or both shoulder blades protruding.
  • The head is not perpendicular to the pelvis.
  • The hips are elevated or exceptionally high on one or both sides.
  • The heights of the rib cages vary.
  • The waist is disproportionate.
  • The skin above the spine changes in appearance or texture (dimples, hairy patches, color abnormalities)
  • The whole body is skewed to one side.

According to one study, roughly 23% of people with idiopathic scoliosis had back pain when they were first diagnosed. An underlying ailment such as spondylolisthesis, syringomyelia, tethered cord, herniated disc, or spinal malignancy was discovered in 10% of these patients. If a patient with idiopathic scoliosis is experiencing more than minor back pain, a complete examination for another cause of pain is recommended.

Idiopathic scoliosis can compromise pulmonary function due to changes in the form and size of the thorax. Recent pulmonary function tests in people with mild to moderate idiopathic scoliosis found that their lungs were impaired.

Scoliosis Diagnosis

Scoliosis is usually diagnosed with an examination, an x-ray, a spinal radiograph, a CT scan, or an MRI. The Cobb Method is used to determine the severity of the curve, which is determined by the number of degrees. Scoliosis is diagnosed when the coronal curvature on a posterior-anterior radiograph is higher than 10 degrees. If a curve is more than 25 to 30 degrees, it is considered substantial. Curves more than 45 degrees to 50 degrees are considered severe and sometimes necessitate more extensive therapy.

The Adam’s Forward Bend Test is a standard assessment used by doctors. The patient leans forward with his or her feet together and bends his or her waist 90 degrees throughout this test. The examiner can easily observe any asymmetry or aberrant spinal curvatures from this point. This is a simple preliminary screening test that can discover possible issues but cannot pinpoint the specific type or severity of the abnormality. For a precise and definite diagnosis, radiographic examinations are required.

  • X-ray: The structure of the vertebrae and the outline of the joints can be seen by using radiation to create a film or image of a part of the body. X-rays of the spine are taken to rule out other reasons for pain, such as infections, fractures, and abnormalities.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): This diagnostic technique uses powerful magnets and computer technology to create 3D images of the human body. This technique can show the spinal cord, nerve roots, surrounding areas, and enlargement, degeneration, and abnormalities.
  • Computed tomography scan (CT scan): After a computer reads X-rays, a diagnostic image is formed that shows the shape and size of the spinal canal, its contents, and the structures surrounding it. CT Scan can help in visualizing bone structures quite well.


The severity of the curve determines the scoliosis treatment and the likelihood of it worsening. Since certain varieties of scoliosis have a higher risk of worsening, the type of scoliosis plays a key role in determining the appropriate treatment. The three main therapeutic options are observation, bracing (such as a thoracolumbosacral orthosis or TLSO back brace), and surgery. As a result, since therapies do not require surgery, surgery may be the best option for certain people.

Any malformation elsewhere in the body can cause functional scoliosis. This type of scoliosis is addressed by dealing with the underlying issue, such as a leg length discrepancy. A tiny wedge can be inserted in the shoe to help equal out leg length and prevent the spine from curving since there is no direct treatment for them.

The improper growth of the bones of the spine causes neuromuscular scoliosis. These types of scoliosis have the highest risk of worsening. Observation and bracing are usually ineffective for these folks. A majority of these folks will require surgery to prevent the curvature from worsening.

Treatment for idiopathic scoliosis is mainly determined by the age at which it appears.

Infantile idiopathic scoliosis improves without treatment in many cases. X-rays can be taken and measurements compared at subsequent appointments to see if the curvature is growing worse. Bracing is usually ineffective in these individuals.

Of all the idiopathic kinds of scoliosis, juvenile idiopathic scoliosis has the highest chance of worsening. If the curvature is not too extreme, bracing can be tried early. The idea is to keep the curve from worsening until the person is no longer growing. Because the curve begins early in these people’s lives and still has a lot of time to grow, they are more likely to require more invasive treatment or surgery.

The most prevalent type of scoliosis is adolescent idiopathic scoliosis. The curve can be monitored and followed using routine X-rays and measurements if it is minor when initially diagnosed. No more treatment is required if the curve or Cobb angle maintains below roughly 20-25 degrees (the Cobb method or angle measures the degree of curvature). Every three to four months, the patient should return to the doctor to check for any curve worsening. Additional X-rays may be taken each year to get new readings and monitor the curve’s evolution. A brace might be required if the curve is between 25 and 40 degrees and the patient is still growing. Bracing is not advised for people who have reached the end of their growth cycle. Surgery is recommended if the curve is more than 40 degrees.


There is no way to avoid developing scoliosis. So disregard any story you may have heard, such as scoliosis being caused by childhood sports injuries. Similarly, you may be concerned about the weight of your children’s textbooks if they are in school. Back, shoulder, and neck pain are caused by large backpacks, but they do not cause scoliosis.

And what about slouching? The way a person stands or sits has no significance on their risk of developing scoliosis. A curved spine, on the other hand, may generate a perceptible lean. Consult our experts to examine your child’s spine if they are unable to stand straight.


The majority of scoliosis patients can walk around freely and participate in all activities, including sports. In difficult situations, the curves can become quite stiff, limiting bending from side to side and forward and back. Teen patients who are braced usually can complete all of their daily activities while wearing the brace, though it is generally recommended that they remove the brace for sports. Parts of the spine will be fused in scoliosis patients who have had surgery.

Realign Spine provides trusted and reliable spine-related Services. Visit Realign Spine today to schedule an appointment with one of our experts.

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