Scoliosis is a disorder which causes the spine to curve in an abnormal manner. It usually occurs just prior to puberty. Although it is sometimes caused by disorders like muscular dystrophy or cerebral palsy, the exact cause of scoliosis remains a mystery.

In a severe form scoliosis can be disabling but this is a rarity. Severe scoliosis can result in a reduced thoracic cavity which makes breathing difficult. Children with mild cases of scoliosis have their spinal curvature monitored with the help of x-rays. Most cases do not require treatment, but some children may have to wear braces to prevent the curvature from worsening. In severe cases, surgery may be required to straighten the spine.

Scoliosis is about twice as common in girls as in boys. It can occur at any age but is usually found in children over the age of ten years. Scoliosis can be hereditary and people with scoliosis are more likely to have children with the same disorder, though the severity of the problem need not be the same.

Alternative Names: kyphosis, lordosis