Home > Health A – Z > Scoliosis

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 musculoskeletal disorder in which there is a sideways curvature of the spine, or backbone. The bones that make up the spine are called vertebrae. Some people who have scoliosis require treatment. Other people, who have milder curves, may need to visit their doctor for periodic observation only.

Who Gets Scoliosis?

People of all ages can have scoliosis, but this publication focuses on children and adolescents. Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (scoliosis of unknown cause) is the most common type and typically occurs after the age of 10. Girls are more likely than boys to have this type of scoliosis. Because scoliosis can run in families, a child who has a parent, brother, or sister with idiopathic scoliosis should be checked regularly for scoliosis by the family doctor....Read more about Scoliosis NIH - National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases

What works? Research summarized

Evidence reviews

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).

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.

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 (77)

Summaries for consumers

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).

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.

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 (8)

More about Scoliosis

Photo of a young adult

Other terms to know:
Idiopathic, Spine

Keep up with systematic reviews on Scoliosis:

Create RSS

PubMed Health Blog...

read all...