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Scoliosis is a medical condition in which a person’s spine is curved from side to side, shaped like an “S” or “C” and may also be rotated. For adults, it can be very painful. It is an abnormal lateral curvature of the spine. On an x-ray, viewed from the rear, the spine of an individual with a typical scoliosis may look more like an “S” or a “C” than a straight line. It is typically classified as congenital (caused by vertebral anomalies present at birth), idiopathic (subclassified as infantile, juvenile, adolescent, or adult according to when onset occurred) or as neuromuscular, having developed as a secondary symptom of another condition, such as spina bifida, cerebral palsy, spinal muscular atrophy or due to physical trauma.

In the case of the most common form of scoliosis, adolescent idiopathic scoliosis, there is no clear causal agent. Various causes have been implicated, but none have consensus among scientists as the cause of scoliosis. The role of genetic factors in the development of this condition is widely accepted. Scoliosis is more often diagnosed in females and is often seen in patients with cerebral palsy or spina bifida. Spina Bifida is a birth defect that involves the incomplete development of the spinal cord and its coverings, although this form of scoliosis is different from that seen in children without these conditions. In some cases, scoliosis exists at birth due to a congenital certebral anomaly. Some therapists believe that physical trauma to an adult can cause, not just asymmetry but an actual curve to the spine visible on x-ray. Scoliosis often presents itself, or worsens, during the adolescence growth spurt. During adolescence, due to rapid growth of the body, hip and leg proportions in the leg and thigh may become misaligned, causing temporary acute scoliosis.

Symptoms of Scoliosis

Symptoms of scoliosis include pain (mostly in adults), uneven musculature on one side of the spine, a rib hump and/or prominent shoulder blade caused by rotation of the ribcage in thoracic scoliosis, uneven hips, rib cage and shoulder levels and/or asymmetric size or location of breasts in females.

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Do you experience chronic pain, and wonder what condition may be its source? Gulf Coast Spine Center offers it's free online Pain Mapping Tool to help you better understand the underlying cause of your back pain.

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Conditions of the spine can be attributed to a variety of factors. Their symptoms can also present in many, sometimes common ways. It is essential that our medical experts review your history and pain in order to accurately provide you with an honest evaluation of your treatment options. In order to get this information GCSC offers a completely free online tool to securely provide the information our surgeons need.

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