What Is Scoliosis?The word scoliosis (say: sko-lee-oh-sis) comes from a Greek word meaning crooked. If you have scoliosis, you're not alone. About 3 out of every 100 people have some form of scoliosis, though for many people it's not much of a problem. For a small number of people, the curve gets worse as they grow and they may need a brace or an operation to correct it.
Someone with scoliosis may have a back that curves like an "S" or a "C." It may or may not be noticeable to others. While small curves generally do not cause problems, larger curves can cause discomfort. The X-ray image to the right shows what scoliosis looks like.
No one knows what causes the most common type of scoliosis called idiopathic (say: ih-dee-uh-pa-thik) scoliosis. (Idiopathic is a fancy word for unknown cause.) Doctors do know that scoliosis can run in families. So if a parent, sister, or brother had scoliosis, you might have it, too.
Most types of scoliosis are more common in girls than boys, and girls with scoliosis are more likely to need treatment.
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