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Scoliosis: Causes | Types | Symptoms | Tests | Treatment

Updated on July 18, 2011

The word scoliosis has come from Greek word “skol” which means curvature. In medical words, scoliosis is longitudinal or lateral deviation of the spine in varying degrees. In laymen terms, we can say that scoliosis is a curvature that occurs in the spine, which is accompanied by a rotation of the vertebral bodies, which causes the appearance of a hump. Interestingly this hump or curvature looks perfectly normal or straight when viewed from the rear position but not from the front. In general, there are various causes of scoliosis. Scoliosis is not limited to a unique age group and can occur at different stages of life. Scoliosis is common in people with lack of muscle tissue or poor muscle ratio in the lower back. Usually, the lumbar and abdominal muscles are required to maintain rigid and correct positioning of spine.

Weakness of these muscles causes scoliosis, thereby, forming a curve in the form of “S” or “C” shape. In very few cases of spinal curvature, patients do not require any long-term treatment. The curvature is so minimal that they are required to just visit their spine or back specialist once a year or every six months to measure the curvature for any changes but maximum cases of scoliosis require long-term care and treatment.

Scoliosis - lateral deviation of spine.
Scoliosis - lateral deviation of spine.
Scoliosis brace treatment
Scoliosis brace treatment


  1. Congenital spine deformities which occur when the fetus is developing inside the womb and takes birth with this disorder. This condition comes under idiopathic scoliosis (scoliosis of unknown cause).
  2. The other possibility is neuromuscular or muscular weakness of the lower back and abdomen accompanied with dystrophy of muscles.
  3. Other cause of scoliosis is limb length inequality or discrepancy in which one leg is shorter than the other.
  4. Cerebral palsy or paralysis of some parts of brain that control body movement, posture, and balance.
  5. Spina bifida or incomplete development of spinal cord in baby at the time of birth.
  6. Genetic disorders.
  7. Hereditary disorders. Most patients having scoliosis have a family history of scoliosis.

A case of severe scoliosis
A case of severe scoliosis


  1. Infantile scoliosis from age 0 to 3.
  2. Juvenile scoliosis from age 3 to 9.
  3. Adolescent scoliosis from age 9 to 18.
  4. Adult scoliosis from age 18 to end.


  1. Uneven positioning of ribcages.
  2. Curvature of entire body to one side.
  3. Dimples, color changes, and hairy patches over the spine.
  4. Discrepancy in shoulder height.
  5. Uneven positioning of waist.
  6. Prominent or raised hip.


  1. Adam’s Forward Bend Test – Bending 90 degrees at the waist for measurement of scoliosis.
  2. Cobb Method – Measuring various degrees of curves - 25 to 30 degrees, moderate curve - 45 to 50 degrees, severe scoliosis.


  1. A spine specialist measures the degree of scoliotic curvature of spine, assesses the spinal curve according to location, and checks the potential for future progression of curve.
  2. Orthopedic spine specialist prescribes orthopedic bracing in order to the stop the progression of curve but it is not 100% effective in young patients due to skeletal immaturity.
  3. In cases of severe spinal curvature that is growing constantly, a spine specialist performs surgery for scoliosis which is the most complicated procedure performed on humans, especially children.

Scoliosis is a really debilitating condition and needs to be tackled with rest and proper care. A scoliotic patient needs special attention from the caretakers. Kinesiological taping is a conservative approach for treatment of idiopathic scoliosis of a low degree but severe scoliosis can be only treated with proper observation, care, orthopedic bracing, and surgery.

Scoliosis affecting woman - this is an acute condition
Scoliosis affecting woman - this is an acute condition
HubMob Weekly Topic: The return of the Health Hubs - Hub #10 by soni2006
HubMob Weekly Topic: The return of the Health Hubs - Hub #10 by soni2006


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      Kimberlie Ambuehl 4 years ago

      I was diagnosed with scoliosis when I was 16. My mom got me a program for my posture and some exercises I could do to make me feel better and it worked. I'm 21 now and my doctor says my spine is much better than before. He was actually pretty amazed. And I can't describe how much better and stronger my back feels. This is the program if you guys wanna check it out.

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      Vinita 5 years ago

      I have very severe scoliosis. I can't afford surgery.what should i do?

    • profile image

      frank 6 years ago

      thanks for saving peoples lives

    • soni2006 profile image

      Rajinder Soni 6 years ago from New Delhi, India

      @soulart, thank you so much for your visit and comment. I am sorry for your condition but happy that you are so confident to have survived this problem. Best of luck for your life.

    • soulart profile image

      soulart 6 years ago from Maricopa, AZ

      This was great information! I had Scoliosis Surgery in 1990 and had Harrington Rods put in from upper mid (between the shoulder blades) down through the pelvic. They had to break my hips along with placing these rods in. Now, 21 years later when I look at what is available as far as braces, which are way better, not much has changed with the medical technology. This is great information for those that do not know how severe this disease can be. It affects not only the bones and physical but concentration, and physiological conditions prior and post surgerical.

    • soni2006 profile image

      Rajinder Soni 7 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Thanks a lot for your comment sir.

    • mdlawyer profile image

      mdlawyer 7 years ago

      This is new information to me. Nice hub. thanks soni2006

    • soni2006 profile image

      Rajinder Soni 7 years ago from New Delhi, India

      I have seen many people with this condition. A lady shop owner in front of my office is suffering from this problem since childhood.

    • eshaw profile image

      eshaw 7 years ago from Huntsville

      i have never seen anything like that thats crazy

    • vydyulashashi profile image

      vydyulashashi 7 years ago from Hyderabad,India

      nice info..i wish people will become aware of this dreadful disease

    • soni2006 profile image

      Rajinder Soni 7 years ago from New Delhi, India

      @Denise, thanks a lot for your review of this article.

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 7 years ago from North Carolina

      interesting and factual hub, Soni. Pictures are worth a thousand words. My nephew has sc. but nothing like these photos show.