Scoliosis is an abnormal curvature of the spine, or backbone. Instead of a straight vertical line from the neck to the buttocks, the spine has a C- or S-shape. This can result in uneven shoulders and hips.
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In most cases, the cause of scoliosis is unknown. Sometimes it is related to a congenital birth defect, disease, or infection. It usually develops in childhood before puberty, though it may not be diagnosed until the teen years. Scoliosis is classified by the age at diagnosis:
- Infantile scoliosis: younger than three years old
- Juvenile scoliosis: 3-10 years old
- Adolescent scoliosis: from age 10 to end of growing period
Occasionally, the spine curvature of scoliosis is due to a muscle imbalance rather than a spinal deformity.
Last reviewedSeptember 2012by Kari Kassir, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.