The NeuroMedical Center | Patient Education Library | Scoliosis

Scoliosis is derived from the Ancient Greek word “scoliosis” which literally meant “a bending.”  Individuals who have this condition have an abnormal curvature of the spine. The normal shape of a person’s spine includes a curve at the top of the shoulder and a curve at the lower back. A spine with scoliosis, when viewed from the rear, curves sideways or  it may curve into a “C” or an “S” shape.



In most cases, the direct cause of scoliosis is not understood. In fact, the American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS) estimates that about 80 percent of scoliosis cases have no identifiable cause. This is called idiopathic scoliosis. People with a family history of scoliosis are more likely to develop the condition. Girls are more likely to have a more severe form of scoliosis than boys.

Scoliosis most often develops in in early childhood, just before a child reaches puberty. However, scoliosis can occur at any time of life for a wide variety of reasons including underlying medical conditions such as birth defects, muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, and injuries of the spine.


People with scoliosis typically do not experience complications or pain. However, in very severe cases, the spine may begin to twist, causing back pain. Sometimes, scoliosis can limit the lungs’ ability to expand, affecting breathing.

Signs of Scoliosis

  • A visibly curved spine

  • Leaning to one side

  • Uneven shoulders

  • One shoulder or hip sticking out

  • Ribs sticking out on one side


Most people who have scoliosis do not need treatment.  Common scoliosis treatment methods including bracing to prevent further curvature, along with close monitoring of the spine to make sure the curve in the spine isn’t getting worse over time.

In some cases, spinal fusion surgery may be needed to straighten and stabilize the spine. Surgery is usually only recommended if the patient’s cure has progressed to an angle of 40 degrees or greater.

If you think you or your loved one may have scoliosis, it unlikely that there’s anything seriously wrong, but it is still recommended that you get checked out by a spine specialist at The NeuroMedical Center.  Our Neurosurgeons utilize advanced imaging technology to accurately diagnose scoliosis and other spinal conditions before tailoring a treatment plan for you.