Scoliosis & Spinal Deformities


Scoliosis (from Greek: skoliōsis meaning from skolios, "crooked") is a medical condition in which a person's spine is curved from side to side. Although it is a complex three-dimensional deformity, on an X-ray, viewed from the rear, the spine of an individual with scoliosis may look more like an "S" or a "C" than a straight line.

Scoliosis is the most common spinal deformity and is described as an abnormal side-to-side spinal curve. Scoliosis can develop in the thoracic (mid-back) and lumbar (low back) spine. When progressive, scoliosis may cause the spine to turn or rotate. Rotational forces can pull the ribs and further distort the shape of the spine, cause one side of the body to be a different height, and create a rib hump on the back. Sometimes, scoliosis is caused by muscle problems, does not involve spinal rotation, and is almost always reversible.

Scoliosis is typically classified as either:

This condition affects approximately 7 million people in the United States.

It has been estimated that approximately 65% of scoliosis cases are idiopathic, approximately 15% are congenital and approximately 10% are secondary to a neuromuscular disease.

Scoliosis can cause:

  • One shoulder or hip to be higher than the other
  • One leg longer than the other
  • Head appears not centered over the body
  • Hemlines and trousers hang unevenly
  • Shoulder blade / rib cage prominence when bending forward at the waist
  • Visible curvature of the spine
  • Back pain (severe scoliosis)
  • Shortness of breath (severe scoliosis)

More information available at: Wikipedia.