What is scoliosis? 

Scoliosis is a sideways curve of the spine. Children and teens with scoliosis have an abnormal S-shaped or C-shaped curve of the spine. The curve can happen on either side of the spine and in different places in the spine.

With treatment, observation, and follow-up with the doctor, most children and teens with scoliosis have normal, active lives.


Who gets scoliosis?

Anyone can get scoliosis. However, the most common type usually occurs in children age 11 and older. Girls are more likely than boys to have this type of scoliosis. You are more likely to have scoliosis if your parent, brother, or sister has it.

What are the symptoms of scoliosis?

Most children and teens with mild scoliosis do not have symptoms or pain. Sometimes, there are changes in posture, which may be a sign of scoliosis. Other signs may include the following:

  • Shoulders are uneven.
  • One shoulder blade (in the upper back) sticks out more.
  • One hip looks higher than the other.
  • Your child’s rib cage may stick out more when he or she bends forward.

If the curve is more severe, the changes in the shape of the spine can lead to back pain. Rarely, some children may have a hard time breathing because of the curve.

What causes scoliosis?

In most cases, the cause of scoliosis is unknown. Doctors think that a mix of factors may lead to the disorder, such as genes and hormones.

For some children, scoliosis happens when another disease or disorder, or trauma (such as an accident) causes the curving spine.