Scoliosis is a spinal deformity (curvature) causing the spine to be off to the side, greater than 10-degrees, with some rotation of the spinal bones. In children scoliosis mainly occurs in adolescent girls starting between 10 to 12 years of age but it can affect all ages and gender. The most common cause of scoliosis in children is adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (unknown origin) and it will develop in about 2-4% of children by the time they finish growing. Adults can also have scoliosis.
It may stem from adolescence or more commonly develop later in life. Scoliosis will usually get worse with growth and/or age. When a person turns 40-years old they have about a 9% chance of having scoliosis; at 60 years -old that increases to 30% chance and if they are lucky enough to live to 90-years old, the chances are greater than 50% chance of having scoliosis. This is important because if the bend in a spine gets above 50 degrees curve or becomes severely degenerate, surgery is often recommended. Patients with scoliosis can develop back pain, spinal stenosis, asymmetry in their body appearance and postural deformity. The good news, early and accurate detection through scoliosis screening and x rays, can leads to the most appropriate treatment, and it can be the difference between a patient needing to undergo surgery. Even in adults, the earlier appropriate treatment is started, the better.
By Dr. Josh West