What is Scoliosis

What is Scoliosis

Scoliosis is a three-dimensional deformity of the spine which is characterized by a rotation and sideways curve of the trunk larger than 11 degrees. Scoliosis usually appears initially in childhood and can develop and deteriorate even during adulthood.

Scoliosis usually appears in the thoracic or the lumbar region of the spine, thus creating a C-shape to the spine. In many cases scoliosis is double and appears in more than one regions of the spine causing an S-shape. In more rare cases it can appear in the cervical region.

What is Scoliosis of the Spine? | Physiotherapy Scoliosis Exercises

Scoliosis is classified into functional and structural scoliosis:

Functional Scoliosis: It is caused by external factors such as a relaxed body posture, muscle spasms or difference in leg length and does not involve any deformity of the spine.

Structural Scoliosis: Scoliosis in which a rotation and sideways curve of the trunk is observed and involves deformity of the vertebrae and rigidness.

In the majority of cases, there is no known cause for scoliosis, despite the number of studies undertaken and this is called idiopathic scoliosis (75%-80% of cases).

Types of structural scoliosis:

  • idiopathic 75%-80%
  • congenital 10%
  • neuromuscular 5%-7%
  • neurofibromatosis 2%-3%
  • other types

According to the age of appearance, scoliosis is classified into:

  • congenital: present at birth
  • infantile: up to 3 years
  • juvenile: 3-10 years
  • adolescent: 10-18 years
  • adult: over 18 years



The prevalence of scoliosis is 2-3% of the population and it is observed mostly in girls for unknown reasons.