Scoliosis is a lateral curvature in the normally straight vertical line of the spine. When viewed from the side, the spine shows a mild roundness in the upper back and inward curvature of the lower back. The most common type of scoliosis is idiopathic; it is present at birth and may be inherited. Other types include neuromuscular scoliosis and degenerative scoliosis. Idiopathic scoliosis usually affects those ages 10-16, progressing during the growth years. Some clues that a child may have scoliosis include uneven shoulders, a prominent shoulder blade, uneven waist, or leaning to one side. Diagnosis includes a bone exam and an X-ray to evaluate the magnitude of the curve. Treatment for scoliosis includes back braces, and in more severe cases, surgery that involves joining the vertebrae together permanently (spinal fusion). Follow the links below to find WebMD's comprehensive coverage of scoliosis, what it looks like, its symptoms, treatment, and much more.
Actor Shailene Woodley shares her story of how she copes with scoliosis.
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