scolioAbout Scoliosis


SCOLIOSIS is a three dimensional deformity of the spine and trunk.  It is usually noted by the lateral deviation of the spine from the normal vertical line and measures greater than 10 degrees as noted by X-ray. This deviation is coupled with a flatscoliosis_posteriortening of the spine in the sagittal plane (side view) and rotation of the vertebrae.  The majority of scoliotic curves has an unknown origin and occurs most frequently in adolescents. When there is no evidence of underlying physical or radiographic pathology it is called Idiopathic Scoliosis.  Congenital scoliosis is scoliosis that is present at birth due to failure of vertebrae to form or segment  properly.  Scoliosis can also occur due to neurological disorders.

Adolescent Scoliosis – a lateral spinal curvature that appears before the onset of puberty and before skeletal maturity that is diagnosed at age 10 or older.  If origin is unknown it is known as Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis or AIS.  80-85% of scoliosis falls into this category.  There may or may not be a genetic factor involved.

Adult Scoliosis – scoliosis of any cause which is present after skeletal maturity.

Infantile Scoliosisa curvature of the spine that develops before 3 years of age.

Juvenile Scoliosis – scoliosis developing between the ages of 3 to 10.

COBcobbB ANGLE – measures the lateral bend of the spine and is the universal standard to diagnose and assess scoliotic curve progression

RISSER SIGN– is used to evaluate skeletal and spinal maturity. It refers to the appearance of a crescent shaped line of bone formation on a regular x-ray which appears across the top of each side of the pelvis.

meterSCOLIOMETER – a tool to measure trunk rotation.  It works like a level.


 Degrees of Scoliosis

Mild Scoliosis: 10-20° Cobb angle

High Mild-Low Moderate: 20-30° Cobb angle

Moderate to Severe: 30° or greater Cobb angle

Severe: 50° or greater Cobb angle

Some Additional Facts

image_03b_dpusa227Scoliosis is not just one curve

image_03b_dpusa227Scoliosis affects the spine in 3 dimensions

image_03b_dpusa227Scoliosis can affect height

image_03b_dpusa227Scoliosis can affect breathing capacity

image_03b_dpusa227Scoliosis can affect appearance and well being

image_03b_dpusa227The bigger the curve the greater the chance of progression

image_03b_dpusa227The younger the child the greater the chance of progression especially if there is good growth potential

image_03b_dpusa227Scoliosis can be treated at any age

image_03b_dpusa227Statistics show that if a curve’s progression can be halted at 30° or less until growth is complete, the likelihood of curve progression in adulthood is reduced.

image_03b_dpusa227Scoliosis is not life threatening and research shows surgery is rarely indicated

image_03b_dpusa227 “Wait and See” is NOT effective