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What is scoliosis?

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Quick Answer

Scoliosis is a problem with the spine where the spine is curved instead of straight, with the upper back being rounded and the lower back having a "swayback," or inner curved problem, reports WebMD. Scoliosis is rare amongst the American population, with only 2 to 3 percent of Americans presenting with the disease. according to WebMD.

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What is scoliosis?
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Full Answer

Most of the time scoliosis is diagnosed as a child when doctors begin to feel the curvature of the spine through a physical exam. It can also be detected earlier through X-rays. Once the diagnosis has been made, doctors perform X-rays and bone exams to determine what kind of scoliosis the child has and to what degree the spine is curved, reports WebMD.

People who have scoliosis have one of two kinds: nonstructural or structural. Nonstructural scoliosis occurs when the curve is considered to be a temporary problem that will resolve with treatment because the spine is normal. Structural scoliosis occurs when the spine itself is curved permanently. Scoliosis is treated through bracing and surgery, as well as through ongoing observation. Treatment options depend on the degree of the spine's curve, the pattern of the spine's curve, the type of scoliosis, the age of the patient and the amount of growth yet expected from the patient, reports the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases.

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