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Scoliosis

A sideways curvature of the spine.

PubMed Health Glossary
(Source: NIH - National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases)

About Scoliosis

Scoliosis is a disorder in which there is a sideways curve of the spine. Curves are often S-shaped or C-shaped. In most people, there is no known cause for this curve. Curves frequently follow patterns that have been studied in previous patients.

People with milder curves may only need to visit their doctor for regular check-ups. Some people who have scoliosis need treatment.

Who gets it?

People of all ages can have scoliosis. The most common type has no known cause and occurs in children age 10 to 12 and in their early teens. 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 have it....Read more about Scoliosis
NIH - National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases

What works? Research summarized

Evidence reviews

Exercises for scoliosis in teens

Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS) is a rare (2% to 3% of the general population) spinal deformity affecting young people aged 10 through the end of the growth period. The deformity may continue into adulthood. AIS is characterised by one or more three‐dimensional spinal curves. Disability, cosmetic deformity, pain, activity limitation, quality of life issues, breathing problems and the possibility of the scoliosis remaining with the person into and throughout adulthood are commonly associated with this condition. The cause of AIS is unknown.

Surgical treatment compared to non‐surgical treatment (braces, exercise, or observation) for teens with idiopathic scoliosis

Scoliosis is a condition where the spine is curved in three dimensions (from the back the spine appears to be shaped like a 'c' or an 's'). It is often idiopathic, or of unknown cause. The most common type of scoliosis, adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS), is discovered around 10 years of age or older, and is defined as a curve that measures at least 10 degrees (known as a Cobb angle, which is measured on an x‐ray).

Braces for idiopathic scoliosis in adolescents

We reviewed the evidence about the effect of bracing on pulmonary disorders (lung diseases), disability, back pain, quality of life, and psychological and cosmetic issues in adolescent with idiopathic scoliosis. We found seven studies. We looked at randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and prospective controlled cohort studies (CCTs).

See all (79)

Summaries for consumers

Exercises for scoliosis in teens

Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS) is a rare (2% to 3% of the general population) spinal deformity affecting young people aged 10 through the end of the growth period. The deformity may continue into adulthood. AIS is characterised by one or more three‐dimensional spinal curves. Disability, cosmetic deformity, pain, activity limitation, quality of life issues, breathing problems and the possibility of the scoliosis remaining with the person into and throughout adulthood are commonly associated with this condition. The cause of AIS is unknown.

Surgical treatment compared to non‐surgical treatment (braces, exercise, or observation) for teens with idiopathic scoliosis

Scoliosis is a condition where the spine is curved in three dimensions (from the back the spine appears to be shaped like a 'c' or an 's'). It is often idiopathic, or of unknown cause. The most common type of scoliosis, adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS), is discovered around 10 years of age or older, and is defined as a curve that measures at least 10 degrees (known as a Cobb angle, which is measured on an x‐ray).

Braces for idiopathic scoliosis in adolescents

We reviewed the evidence about the effect of bracing on pulmonary disorders (lung diseases), disability, back pain, quality of life, and psychological and cosmetic issues in adolescent with idiopathic scoliosis. We found seven studies. We looked at randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and prospective controlled cohort studies (CCTs).

See all (9)

More about Scoliosis

Photo of a young adult

Other terms to know:
Idiopathic, Spine, Vertebrae

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