Scoliosis is a deformation of the spine which causes a normally straight spine to curve. The condition can run in families, but in most cases its cause is unknown. It frequently develops before puberty and goes unnoticed because it often causes no pain. In adults, scoliosis may develop due to worsening of a slight curvature from childhood, or it could be caused by degenerative diseases of the spine such as kyphosis or osteoporosis. Scoliosis can limit a person’s ability to move normally. It can also bring on pain and reduced ability to breathed if a misshapen rib cage restricts normal lung growth.
Warning signs include uneven shoulders, a protrusion of one or both shoulder blades, an uneven waist or an elevated hip. Most people with the condition don’t need treatment. Early detection is important, because medical observation is needed during the growing years to make sure the curve doesn’t worsen. If intervention is needed, an orthopedic brace may prevent further curvature. In some cases, spinal fusion surgery may be needed to straighten and stabilize the spine.
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