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The term scoliosis simply means a lateral deviation of the spine.

It is usually detected in childhood.

Some patients may have an underlying disorder that is associated with scoliosis such as muscle weakness or imbalance.

Idiopathic scoliosis is a curvature of the spine that doesn’t appear to be due to any other medical condition. Current research suggests that it is mainly genetic in nature.

In children that present under the age of 6 it is called early onset. When it occurs in the very young it can sometimes progress and be a serious disorder.

It is most common in teenagers and is usually a cosmetic issue, so some patients may be unconcerned and some may be bothered by the appearance of their spine. It is not a weakness of the spine and it isn’t usually painful.

Scoliosis in Adults can arise as a result of the ageing process, if it first appears in later life it is sometimes called ‘de novo’ scoliosis.

Detailed links to scoliosis chat rooms and other more detailed information for parents as well as young people are available at the British Scoliosis Society website.

The Internet websites selected here have been approved by patients and doctors as providing good quality and reliable information on scoliosis. There are cultural differences in the way the condition is treated in different countries and a variety of opinions may be expressed.

Scoliosis Research Society

Patient Line Scoliosis: The Spine Society of Europe

A site with scoliosis information from a European perspective. It also has views of surgeons on different treatment options across Europe demonstrating the variety of opinions.

Further useful links , particularly for residents of the British Isles are to SAUK and BSRF. They have recently joined forces for research and patient support.

British Association of Spine Surgeons (BASS), RCSEng, 38-43 Lincoln's Inn Fields, Holborn, London, WC2A 3PE

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