AustinPUG Health

AustinPUG Health

Scoliosis is often misconceived as a disease condition, when it is actually just a descriptive term of any abnormal curvature of the spine. A normal and healthy spine should be straight and not curved, but in scoliotic patients, it is curved in any of the following ways:


  • Spine is curved to the left as if to form a letter C
  • There is only one curve


  • Spine is curved to the right like a letter C in reverse
  • There is only one curve

Thoracic dextroscoliosis and lumbar levoscoliosis

  • There is an S-shaped curve to the spine
  • Since the curvature is S-shaped, there are two curves.

There are also terminologies that describe the location of the curve:

Thoracic scoliosis

  • This is the most frequently occurring scoliosis and is a curvature located in the middle or thoracic portion of the spine

Lumbar scoliosis

  • This is a curvature of the lower or lumbar portion of the spine.


  • In this type of scoliosis, both the upper and lower parts of the spine are affected.

83496758 scoliosis definition Facts About Scoliosis

What causes scoliosis?


There are two types of scoliosis and the more common one is the idiopathic type. Idiopathic scoliosis does not have any known cause, and occurs mostly in children. It is not necessarily a serious condition – it is without pain and does not require treatment most of the time. Children who have been diagnosed with scoliosis, however, must be monitored consistently in order to detect any progress or aggravation in the curvature of the spine.


In degenerative scoliosis, the facet joints are, through time and little by little, deteriorating. Unlike idiopathic scoliosis, this is the type that occurs with a cause. As suggested by its name it is caused by the deterioration of the spine in relation to aging or the weakening of the bones. The spine in degenerative scoliosis appears straight from the back, but the weight from the ailing facet joints would eventually cause the spine to curve to a single side. Unlike idiopathic scoliosis, this type can sometimes be painful, although rare. Stiffness, numbness, and pain may be felt in the middle or lower back, as well as in the legs and feet.

The following are the symptoms of degenerative scoliosis:

  • Activity induced pain that is gradual and progressive.
  • Pain that is worst in the morning upon waking, slowly ebbs off during the course of the day, and resumes initial intensity at night
  • Back pain that gets worse with standing or walking, and feels better when sitting down.
  • Pain in the legs while standing or walking.

Scoliosis rarely requires surgery. Nonsurgical treatment usually aims to:

1. Improve strength, flexibility, and widen range of motion

– Helps boost the overall condition of the spine.

2. Reduction of pain

– Improve the patient’s quality of life. Pain reduction is not achieved by correcting the curvature itself, as this is not the root cause of pain. The abnormal curvature also does not worsen that much to cause deformity.

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This article was written by Cedric Loiselle for Sports Medicine and Orthopedic Center. If you are looking for the best Milwaukee spine surgeon, read more of Loiselle’s articles for tips and advice.


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