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Scoliosis is a condition in which the spine curves sideways. It affects about 3 percent of children. School screenings and regular checkups starting around age 10 can help catch scoliosis early.

At Dignity Health, our experienced doctors provide a wide array of advanced treatments to manage and correct scoliosis. If you would like to schedule a consultation, Find a Doctor or call us for a physician referral.

Causes of Scoliosis

The most common form of scoliosis, occurring in about 80 to 85 percent of people with scoliosis, is idiopathic scoliosis. “Idiopathic” means the exact cause is unknown. However, doctors do know that it tends to run in families, is not caused by any specific activity, and cannot be prevented.

Other forms of scoliosis include congenital scoliosis due to a birth defect and neuromuscular scoliosis from conditions such as muscular dystrophy.

Symptoms of Scoliosis

Small curves may not cause any symptoms and scoliosis rarely causes pain. As children grow, signs and symptoms may include:

  • one hip sitting higher than the other
  • one shoulder blade sticking out farther than the other
  • ribs sticking out farther on one side
  • uneven shoulders

Scoliosis Treatment at Dignity Health

The trusted treatment options we recommend depend on the size of the curvature and the age of the patient. Small curves may not require treatment. Our professionals may recommend back bracing for more prominent curves. A back brace will not straighten the spine, but it can prevent the curve from getting worse.

Very large curves — 45° to 50° or greater — or curves that continue to increase despite the use of back braces may require spinal fusion surgery.

Talk with your doctor at Dignity Health about surgery for scoliosis, as catching it early may prevent complications such as changes in lung function.

Learn More

For more information, please view our Spine Surgery page, or call us to Find a Doctor.