If you look at someone’s back, you’ll see that the spine runs straight down the middle. When a person has scoliosis, their backbone curves to the side.
The angle of the curve may be small, large or somewhere in between. But anything that measures more than 10 degrees is considered scoliosis. Doctors may use the letters “C” and “S” to describe the curve of the backbone.
You probably don’t look directly at too many spines, but what you might notice about someone with scoliosis is the way they stand. They may lean a little or have shoulders or hips that look uneven.
What Causes Scoliosis?
In as many as 80% of cases, doctors don’t find the exact reason for a curved spine. Scoliosis without a known cause is what doctors call “idiopathic.”
Some kinds of scoliosis do have clear causes. Doctors divide those curves into two types -- structural and nonstructural.
In nonstructural scoliosis, the spine works normally, but looks curved. Why does this happen? There are a number of reasons, such as one leg’s being longer than the other, muscle spasms, and inflammations like appendicitis. When these problems are treated, this type of scoliosis often goes away.