About two percent of people are affected by this deformation of the spine, which causes the normally straight spine to curve. It most often develops in early childhood, just before a child reaches puberty. The direct cause of scoliosis is not understood.
Scoliosis tends to develop gradually and is usually not painful. As the curvature progresses and becomes more severe, scoliosis may cause changes in the body. In very severe cases, the spine may begin to twist, causing back pain. The ribcage may appear uneven and can limit the lungs’ ability to expand, affecting breathing.
Most people who have scoliosis do not need treatment. When it is detected, it can be monitored closely to make sure it isn’t getting worse. A doctor may recommend an orthopedic brace to prevent further curvature. In some cases, spinal fusion surgery may be needed to straighten and stabilize the spine.