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Scoliosis - Definition, Symptoms, Treatment, and Prevention

Scoliosis is a lateral deviation of the spinal column due to an angulation of the vertebrae. This gives the appearance of rotation of the spine. The spine is not often moved in one plane, but rather in all three planes of space. It is necessary to distinguish true scoliosis, where some vertebrae are actually offset from the central axis, from apparent scoliosis, where the appearance of the back gives an impression of scoliosis, but where the vertebrae are actually straight. The latter is due to poor posture.

Scoliosis is a condition that frequently occurs during adolescence, when a child is still growing. Due to the substantial expansion of the bony structures that occurs at this age, it can worsen relatively quickly, hence the importance of early diagnosis. Scoliosis may be spontaneous, but it also may be secondary to other pathologies.


Scoliosis is visible and manifested in the first instance by bad posture when sitting or standing. Depending on the type of scoliosis, back pain of bone and muscle origin may also be present. When scoliosis is present, the spine can resemble an S or C.


To diagnose scoliosis, the doctor will perform a physical examination focusing on the back, the spine, the pelvis, and the legs. If it is just scoliosis, no further investigation is necessary. If there is any doubt, an X-ray of the spine is required. In some cases, a radiograph of the pelvis, a CT scan, an MRI, or a bone scan may be necessary.


The treatment of scoliosis depends entirely on its severity and its evolution. Mild scoliosis is treated with either physiotherapy, or the use of a brace or a plaster cast.

Secondary scoliosis requires specific treatment of the identified pathology.

Severe scoliosis that has not responded to conventional treatment is sometimes treated with surgery.


Prevention of scoliosis is possible. For this, it is important to strengthen the muscles in one's back. To prevent scoliosis, it is essential to: have good bedding; build back muscle through the practice of regular physical activity; maintain a healthy weight; practice good posture.

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