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Causes and Risk Factors

While the exact cause of scoliosis remains unknown, certain factors have been identified that may increase one’s risk. It’s essential to note that these factors do not cause scoliosis but are associated with a heightened likelihood of developing or worsening the condition. 

  • Genetic Predisposition: There’s evidence that scoliosis can run in families, indicating a possible genetic factor.
  • Age at Onset: The risk of scoliosis is higher during peak growth spurts, usually in adolescence.
  • Sex: While both males and females can develop mild scoliosis, females are more likely to experience worsening conditions and may require treatment.
  • Neurological Conditions: Certain neurological conditions, like cerebral palsy or muscular dystrophy, may increase the risk of developing scoliosis.
  • Previous Spinal Injuries or Surgeries: In some cases, a previous injury or surgery to the spine may result in scoliosis.
  • Poor Posture: Poor posture may worsen the curvature of the spine over time.


Scoliosis symptoms vary depending on the severity of the curvature and may include:

  • Visible curvature of the spine
  • Uneven shoulders or waist
  • One hip higher than the other
  • Rib protrusion on one side
  • Back pain and discomfort
  • Reduced range of motion and flexibility in the spine
  • Respiratory problems in severe cases

Diagnosing Scoliosis

Diagnosing scoliosis involves a detailed medical history and physical examination. This examination includes a visual assessment of the spine, shoulders, and hips and may involve the Adam’s Forward Bend Test to observe any abnormal spinal curves. Imaging tests such as X-rays are crucial for determining the degree of curvature and monitoring its progression. In some cases, MRI or CT scans may be recommended for a more detailed view of the spine.

Treatment Options

Conservative Care

Conservative treatment for scoliosis is based on the severity of the curve and the patient’s age. Options include:

  • Observation for mild cases, particularly in children who are still growing
  • Bracing to prevent further curvature in growing children and adolescents
  • Physical therapy exercises to improve posture, strengthen the back, and alleviate pain
  • Lifestyle modifications, such as weight management, to reduce strain on the spine
  • Chiropractic care to improve spinal alignment and reduce discomfort

Surgical Treatment

Surgical intervention for scoliosis is considered in severe cases, especially when the curve is progressive or causing significant symptoms. The most common surgical procedure is spinal fusion, which aims to straighten and stabilize the spine. The decision to undergo surgery is made after a thorough evaluation of the patient’s overall health, the extent of spinal curvature, and the impact on quality of life.

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