What Is Scoliosis?
Scoliosis is when the vertebrae (the small bones in the spine) form a curved line instead of being straight. Sometimes they also rotate (twist), like a corkscrew. This can cause health problems.
Although the spine is sometimes called "the backbone," it's not just one bone. It's made of lots of small bones (called vertebrae) that are connected by a type of elastic tissue called cartilage. This gives people the flexibility to bend, stretch, balance, and even walk.
Small curves usually don't cause problems. But a curve that gets worse can be bad for a person's health. Health care providers treat scoliosis (sko-lee-OH-sis) with back braces or surgery when needed.
How Is Scoliosis Treated?
Small curves usually don't cause problems. But a curve that gets worse can be bad for a person's health. Very large curves can damage the joints and cause arthritis of the spine. Large curves can make the ribs rub against the pelvis, causing pain. Someone whose spine curves a lot might get lung problems.
Doctors will keep an eye on large curves by doing X-rays. They might decide to treat one with bracing or surgery. The treatment used depends on the type of scoliosis and how much more a child will grow.