Understanding Scoliosis

Being diagnosed with scoliosis can be scary, especially for kids. And with this diagnosis comes so many questions like: Will I have to wear back brace? Will people notice my crooked spine? What if I need surgery? The experts at Indiana University Health Neuroscience are here to help you sort it all out.


Scoliosis is an abnormal curvature of the spine which can cause uneven hips, shoulders, and possibly a visible curve to your back.


Several things can cause scoliosis:

- Family history

- Bone issues that are present at birth (congenital)

- Abnormal nerves or muscles (often seen in patients with cerebral palsy, spina bifida or similar issues)

- Previous back surgeries

- Osteoporosis (weak, brittle or thinning bones)

- Traumatic injury to the spine

In some cases, the cause of scoliosis is unknown. This is true of the most common form of the condition, idiopathic scoliosis. And rarely, the curvature can be caused by a tumor growing on the spine. (Insert link: http://iuhealth.org/neuroscience-center/specialties/brain-spinal-tumors/)


While scoliosis is usually diagnosed in children and teenagers, it can also be diagnosed in adults. As we age and our spine deteriorates, we become more susceptive to spinal conditions such as scoliosis. Females are twice as likely as males to have scoliosis, and it’s most common in adolescent girls.


Most people have a very small degree of curvature in their spine. However, any chronic back pain, fatigue or noticeable physical irregularity should be brought to your doctor’s attention. He or she will be able to determine if you have scoliosis through a physical exam, review of your family history and tests such as x-rays, or MRI or CT scans. If you don’t have a doctor, we can help you find one (insert link to Find A Doc).


Neuroscience specialists at Indiana University Health are known throughout the country for their expertise in treating complex spine issues. Here, doctors work with children and adults who have scoliosis to complete a comprehensive evaluation and determine the most appropriate treatment path for their specific condition.


Treatments will vary from person to person, depending on the severity of the diagnosis. Treatments may include physical therapy, wearing a brace and, in some cases, surgery. The experts at IU Health Neuroscience will evaluate each patient carefully to determine the best treatment option. If surgery is necessary, neurosurgeons will use leading-edge technologies and techniques to provide the best outcome possible.

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