A deformity in which the spine is curved to one side. The thoracic (chest) or lumbar (lower back) regions are most widely affected. Scoliosis often starts in childhood or adolescence and becomes progressively more marked until growth stops. In the majority of cases, another part of the spine curves to compensate, resulting in an S-shaped spine. Scoliosis can also be linked with kyphoscolosis. The condition can be very mild and cause no symptoms, or it can be picked up on by a doctor during investigation of back pain.
The cause of juvenile scoliosis is unknown. Hardly ever, the condition is caused by a congenital abnormality of the vertebrae (bones forming the spine) occasionally it can arise temporarily as a result of spinal injury.
If an underlying cause is found it will be treated. In certain cases, physiotherapy can be needed to control scoliosis of unknown cause. Severe or progressive scoliosis can require immobilisation of the spine in a brace, followed by surgery to straighten it.