What is Scoliosis?

Scoliosis (from Greek: ''skolíōsis'' meaning "crooked") is a medical condition in which a person's spine is curved from side to side, shaped like an "s", and may also be rotated. To adults it can be very painful. It is an abnormal lateral curvature of the spine. On an x-ray, viewed from the rear, the spine of an individual with a typical scoliosis may look more like an "S" or a "C" than a straight line. It is typically classified as congenital (caused by vertebral anomalies present at birth), idiopathic (sub-classified as infantile, juvenile, adolescent, or adult according to when onset occurred) or as neuromuscular, having developed as a secondary symptom of another condition, such as spina bifida, cerebral palsy, spinal muscular atrophy or due to physical trauma.

The condition can be categorized based on convexity, or curvature of the spinal column, with relation to the central axis:

  • Dextroscoliosis is a scoliosis with the convexity on the right side.
  • Levoscoliosis is a scoliosis with the convexity on the left side.

Scoliotic curves of 10° or less affect 3-5 out of every 1,000 people. The prevalence of curves less than 20° is about equal in males and females. 2% of women and 0.5% of men are affected by Scoliosis.

Scoliosis is sometimes associated with other conditions such as Ehler-Danlos Syndrome (hyperflexibility, 'floppy baby' syndrome, and other variants of the condition), Charcot-Marie-Tooth, kyphosis, cerebral palsy, spinal muscular atrophy, muscular dystrophy, familial dysautonomia, CHARGE syndrome, Friedreich's ataxia, proteus syndrome, Spina bifida, Marfan's syndrome, neurofibromatosis, connective tissue disorders, congenital diaphragmatic hernia, and craniospinal axis disorders (''e.g.'', syringomyelia, mitral valve prolapse, Arnold-Chiari malformation).

Further Reading


This article is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article on "Scoliosis" All material adapted used from Wikipedia is available under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Wikipedia® itself is a registered trademark of the Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.

Last Updated: Feb 1, 2011

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