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You are here : 3-RX.com > Medical Encyclopedia > Diseases and Conditions > Scoliosis
      Category : Health Centers > Bones, Joints, and Muscles


Alternate Names : Curvature of the Spine

Overview, Causes, & Risk Factors | Symptoms & Signs | Diagnosis & Tests | Prevention & Expectations | Treatment & Monitoring

Scoliosis is a condition in which the spine is bent to one side. It can occur in infants and children, but typically develops during adolescence, when growth is most rapid.

What is going on in the body?

The vertebrae, or bones that form the spine, are usually aligned straight when viewed from behind. In scoliosis, the spine is bent to the side. The spine can sometimes rotate, causing an uneven rib cage. If this happens, the ribs in the back will be prominent on one side. Scoliosis is sometimes associated with excess bending forward of the spine, called kyphosis. It may also be seen with excess bending backward of the spine, called lordosis. The curve of the spine may vary from a C-shaped to a S-shaped pattern.

What are the causes and risks of the condition?

Scoliosis may be inborn or developmental. The cause is usually unknown. Severe cases are seen more frequently in girls than in boys. Scoliosis is also more common when there is a family history of scoliosis. Scoliosis may be the result of the following:

  • disease of the nervous or muscular systems
  • bone fracture
  • infection
  • malformed vertebrae
  • tumor of the vertebrae or spinal cord


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    Scoliosis: Symptoms & Signs

    Author: John A.K. Davies, MD
    Reviewer: Adam Brochert, MD
    Date Reviewed: 06/01/01

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