Scoliosis

Scoliosis

Definition

By Mayo Clinic staff

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Illustration comparing normal curves in spine to scoliosis<br /> Scoliosis

Scoliosis is a sideways curvature of the spine that occurs most often during the growth spurt just before puberty. While scoliosis can be caused by conditions such as cerebral palsy and muscular dystrophy, the cause of most scoliosis is unknown.

Most cases of scoliosis are mild, but some children develop spine deformities that continue to get more severe as they grow. Severe scoliosis can be disabling. An especially severe spinal curve can reduce the amount of space within the chest, making it difficult for the lungs to function properly.

Children who have mild scoliosis are monitored closely, usually with X-rays, to see if the curve is getting worse. In many cases, no treatment is necessary. Some children will need to wear a brace to stop the curve from worsening. Others may need surgery to keep the scoliosis from worsening and to straighten severe cases of scoliosis.

Symptoms

By Mayo Clinic staff

Signs and symptoms of scoliosis may include:

  • Uneven shoulders
  • One shoulder blade that appears more prominent than the other
  • Uneven waist
  • One hip higher than the other

If a scoliosis curve gets worse, the spine will also rotate or twist, in addition to curving side to side. This causes the ribs on one side of the body to stick out farther than on the other side. Severe scoliosis can cause back pain and difficulty breathing.

When to see a doctor
Go to your doctor if you notice signs or symptoms of scoliosis in your child. Mild curves, however, can develop without the parent or child knowing it because they appear gradually and usually don’t cause pain. Occasionally, teachers, friends and sports teammates are the first to notice a child’s scoliosis.

Causes

By Mayo Clinic staff

Doctors don’t know what causes the most common type of scoliosis — although it appears to involve hereditary factors, because the disorder tends to run in families. Less common types of scoliosis may be caused by:

  • Neuromuscular conditions, such as cerebral palsy or muscular dystrophy
  • Birth defects affecting the development of the bones of the spine
  • Injuries to or infections of the spine

Risk factors

By Mayo Clinic staff

Risk factors for developing the most common type of scoliosis include:

  • Age. Signs and symptoms typically begin during the growth spurt that occurs just prior to puberty. This is usually between the ages of 9 and 15 years.
  • Sex. Although both boys and girls develop mild scoliosis at about the same rate, girls have a much higher risk of the curve worsening and requiring treatment.
  • Family history. Scoliosis can run in families, but most children with scoliosis don’t have a family history of the disease.

 

This article copied from mayo clinic

 

 


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