This is most common in girls and women, affecting about 2% of the population and it may run in families. In an x-ray viewed from the front or back, a normal spine will appear almost straight, while a spine with scoliosis will curve to the left or right. Scoliosis curves often look like the letter ‘S’ or ‘C’ and primarily affects the thoracic (middle) or lumbar (low back) regions. Although most scoliosis curves have little health impact, occasionally the condition can result in large abnormal curves that are clearly visible to the eye and which may cause pain, or even, in rare cases, affect lung and heart function.
Scoliosis usually develops during childhood or adolescence, but it can affect adults as well. This typically happens when scoliosis is not detected during childhood or the disease progresses aggressively. Many previously untreatable scoliosis curvatures can now be restored to almost ‘normal’ state.
© St. Joseph's Hospital 2019