What is scoliosis?
Scoliosis is an abnormal curve in the spine that often appears as a child is experiencing a growth spurt. All spines have some curves that are normal, but scoliosis is when the spine curves to the side (a lateral curvature) and sometimes has an “S” shape.
The scoliosis curve may increase depending upon the degree of the curve when diagnosed and the amount of growth the child has left to do. Younger patients who have curves are likely to have large increases in their curve, especially during growth spurts.
There are three general categories of idiopathic scoliosis (meaning the cause is unknown):
- Infantile Idiopathic Scoliosis: ages 3 months to 3 years
- Juvenile Idiopathic Scoliosis: ages 4 to 9
- Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis: ages 10 to 18
Other types of scoliosis are:
- Neuromuscular Scoliosis - scoliosis that is associated with another diagnosis, such as cerebral palsy, spina bifida or muscular dystrophy
- Congenital Scoliosis - meaning a child’s vertebrae in the spine are abnormally shaped at the time of his or her birth
Who gets scoliosis?
Idiopathic scoliosis (the cause is unknown) can appear in otherwise healthy children or adolescents. It occurs in approximately 2.5 out of 100 children. Infantile idiopathic scoliosis is more common in boys. Juvenile and adolescent idiopathic scoliosis is four to five times more common in girls.
There are currently no known measures that can be taken to prevent scoliosis. Of those children who do develop scoliosis, only a small number will actually need surgical treatment.