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Scoliosis (Curvature of the spine)
Scoliosis refers to an abnormal curvature of the spine. About 10 percent of adolescents show some degree of scoliosis but less than 1 percent need treatment for the condition. The severity of scoliosis is described by the extent of the curvature.

Table relating the severity of scoliosis to the amount of spine curvature

Patients with mild scoliosis usually don’t require treatment beyond examination to see if the condition worsens. Patients with moderate and severe scoliosis are treated by using back braces or surgery.

In most cases the cause of scoliosis is not known, however it does seem to run in families. In some cases the condition is caused by an injury. In other cases, the condition is a result of a muscle, nerve, or connective tissue disease.

An illustration comparing the skeletons of people with and without mild scoliosis (curvature of the spine) is seen. The view shows the backs of two skeletons. On the left, the skeleton is from a person without scoliosis. The spine is straight. The skeleton on the right is from a person with mild scoliosis. The spine has a noticeable curve to it.
Normal spinal column (left) and scoliosis (right)







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