Scoliosis is an abnormal curvature of the spine to one side. In people with the condition, the spine bends either to the left or right. The curvature in the spine can vary from being slight to severe.
The bend can occur at any point along the spine, from the top to the bottom. However, the most common regions to be affected by scoliosis are:
- the chest area (thoracic scoliosis)
- the lower part of the back (lumbar scoliosis)
In about 80% of scoliosis cases, the cause is unknown. This is known as idiopathic.
In the UK, scoliosis affects three to four children out of every 1,000. The condition can develop at any time during childhood and adolescence (the teenage years). Scoliosis is more common in girls than boys and often occurs at the start of adolescence.