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Scoliosis

Everyone's spine have natural curves that occur in different places. These curves round our shoulders and make our lower back curve slightly inward. But some people have spines that also curve from side to side. This condition of side-to-side spinal curves is called scoliosis. On an X-ray, the spine of an individual with scoliosis looks more like an "S" or a "C" than a straight line. Some of the bones in a scoliotic spine also may have rotated slightly, making the person's waist or shoulders appear uneven.

Scoliosis can appear in both children and in adults as well. The vast majority of scoliosis is "idiopathic," meaning its cause is unknown. It usually develops in middle or late childhood, before puberty, and is seen more often in girls than boys. Though scoliosis can occur in children with celebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, spinal bifida and other miscellaneous conditions, most scoliosis is found in otherwise healthy youngsters. Although a majority of scoliosis patients are children, it is also seen in adults as well. Adult scoliosis may represent the progression of a condition that actually began in childhood, and was not diagnosed or treated while the person while still growing. What might have started out as a slight or moderate curve has progressed in the abscence of treatment. In other instances, adult scoliosis can be caused by the degenerative changes of the spine. Other spinal deformities such as kyphosis or round back are associated with the common problem of osteoporosis (bone softening) involving the elderly. As more and more people reach old age in the U.S., the incidence of scoliosis and kyphosis is expected to increase. If this condition is allowed to advance, it can interfere with the lungs, heart and many other vital organs.

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Tuesday:

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