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Scoliosis Facts

Facts on Who Scoliosis Affects

People of all ages can have scoliosis. Out of every 1,000 children, 3 to 5 of them will develop spinal curves that are considered large enough to need treatment.
Idiopathic scoliosis falls into three different age ranges, which include:
  • Infantile or early-onset idiopathic scoliosis (children less than 3 years of age)
  • Juvenile idiopathic scoliosis (children between the ages of 3 and 10)
  • Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (children older than 10).
Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (scoliosis of unknown cause) is the most common type. Girls are more likely than boys to have this type of scoliosis. The condition can run in families, which means that a child who has a parent, brother, or sister with idiopathic scoliosis should be checked regularly for the disorder by the family physician.
Although idiopathic scoliosis can occur in children younger than 10 years of age, it is rare. It is also more common in Europe than in the United States.

How Is It Diagnosed?

In order to make a scoliosis diagnosis, your doctor will:
  • Ask you for a medical and family history report
  • Perform a physical exam
  • Order tests.
An x-ray of the spine can also help your doctor decide if you have scoliosis. The x-ray will allow your doctor to measure the curve of your spine in degrees (such as 25 degrees) and see the curve's location, shape, and pattern.

Treating Scoliosis

Treatment for scoliosis is based on:
  • The person's age
  • How much more he or she is likely to grow
  • The degree and pattern of the curve
  • The type of scoliosis.
(Click Scoliosis Treatment for more information about treatment options for scoliosis.)
Your doctor may recommend one of the following treatments: observation, bracing, or surgery.
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