Scoliosis: Comprehensive Overview, Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Precautions, and Treatment Options in India

Scoliosis is a spinal condition characterized by a sideways curvature of the spine that most often develops during the growth spurt just before puberty. Although scoliosis can be a result of conditions such as muscular dystrophy or cerebral palsy, the cause of most cases is unknown. Scoliosis can affect people of all ages, but it's most common in children aged 10-15.


Our spine, when viewed from the back, should appear straight. However, a spine affected by scoliosis shows a side-to-side curvature, in the shape of an 'S' or 'C.' The angles of these curves can vary, and it's this angle that helps doctors determine whether the scoliosis is mild, moderate, or severe.

Causes of Scoliosis

The cause of most scoliosis cases (about 80%) is unknown; this is called idiopathic scoliosis. However, some instances are linked to:

1. Congenital Scoliosis: Caused by a bone abnormality present at birth.

2. Neuromuscular Scoliosis: A result of abnormal muscles or nerves. Frequently seen in people with cerebral palsy or spinal bifida.

3. Degenerative Scoliosis: This occurs in older adults, caused by changes in the spine due to aging.

Symptoms of Scoliosis

Scoliosis signs and symptoms include:

1. Uneven Shoulders: One shoulder blade may appear more prominent than the other.

2. Uneven Waist: One hip might be higher than the other, causing an uneven waist.

3. Leaning to One Side: In severe cases, the individual might lean to one side, and the changes can be noticeable.

4. Back Pain: This symptom is more typical in adult cases.

Diagnosis of Scoliosis

Doctors use the following methods to diagnose scoliosis:

1. Physical Examination:

The doctor might ask the child to bend forward from the waist to see if one side of the rib cage is more raised than the other.

2. Neurological Examination:

This test is to check for muscle weakness, numbness, and abnormal reflexes.

3. Imaging Tests:

These might include X-rays, MRI, or CT scans.

Precautions for Scoliosis

While scoliosis itself can't be prevented as it's often due to unknown or congenital causes, there are certain precautions that can be taken:

1. Early Detection: Regular check-ups, especially during the growth spurt, can lead to early detection and timely treatment.

2. Exercise: Regular physical activity and stretching can help maintain a healthy spine.

3. Good Posture: Maintaining a good posture during sitting and standing can help keep the spine strong.

Treatments for Scoliosis

Treatment options for scoliosis in India are as wide-ranging as its causes, available in renowned hospitals like AIIMS, Fortis, Apollo Hospitals, etc.

1. Observation:

Doctors may opt to monitor the curve of the spine every 4-6 months.

2. Bracing:

If the child is still growing and the curve is moderate, a brace may be recommended.

3. Surgery:

Surgery is reserved for severe scoliosis cases. The surgical procedure, called spinal fusion, connects two or more of the vertebrae together so they can't move independently.


Remember, early detection is key in managing scoliosis effectively. Therefore, regular health check-ups are crucial, especially for growing children. If you suspect scoliosis, seek medical advice to get a comprehensive evaluation and suitable treatment plan.

Frequently Asked Questions

There's no cure for scoliosis, but the symptoms can be managed, and progression can be slowed with proper treatment.

It can, but it's not always the case. Scoliosis is different for everyone, and age-related degeneration can exacerbate existing spinal curvatures.

Since the cause of most scoliosis cases is unknown, prevention is not possible. However, early detection can lead to treatments that slow progression.

Yes, specific exercises can help strengthen the muscles supporting your spine, improving posture and reducing discomfort.

It depends on the severity. Some people can manage their symptoms and lead a healthy life, while others may be significantly affected and considered disabled.

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