In most people, the cause is not known. Genetics may play a role.
In others, the cause may be due to:
- Problems with the nervous system, such as cerebral palsy or muscular dystrophy
- Inherited problems that run in families
- Differing leg lengths
Most people do not have symptoms. Those who do may have:
- Changes in posture
- Uneven shoulders
- One shoulder blade or rib cage that sticks out more than the other
- Uneven hips
- Back pain
- Problems breathing (rare)
The diagnosis may be made during a routine physical. Or, it may be made after a school screening program has referred your child to the doctor.
The doctor will ask about your child's symptoms and health history. A physical exam will be done. It will focus on the spine.
Images of the spine may be taken. This can be done with x-rays.
Treatment depends on your child's age, stage of growth, and the severity of the curve. Children with a mild curve may not need treatment. They may be monitored for any changes.
The goal of treatment for others is to prevent scoliosis from worsening. Options are:
- Physical therapy to promote strength, flexibility, and range of motion
- Bracing or casting to prevent the curve from getting worse
Children with severe curves may need surgery. Spinal fusion may be done to fuse two vertebrae together. This can straighten the curve.
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
Edits to original content made by Denver Health.
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