What is Scoliosis of the Spine?

Dr. Maziar Badii, MD, FRCP, Rheumatologist, discusses What is Scoliosis of the Spine?

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Dr. Maziar Badii, MD, FRCP, Rheumatologist, discusses What is Scoliosis of the Spine?
Video transcript

Featuring Dr. Maziar Badii, MD, FRCP
What is Scoliosis of the Spine?
Duration: 2 minutes, 49 seconds

The word scoliosis comes from Greek, scolios, meaning curved or crooked.

Scoliosis implies and abnormal curvature of the spine, so the human spine has three normal curvatures, so just looking at you like this, my neck is curved inside. That’s a lordosis.

Then the thoracic spine is curved back. That’s a kyphosis. And then it’s curved inwards again, another lordosis. That’s a front-to-back curve. A scoliosis is talking about the curve in this plane, so going this way.

Now if we were to take a picture of someone with a scoliosis, and looked at it on a two-dimensional plane, like on a plane X-ray, it would look either like a C, so one curve, or an S. That is an abnormal curvature in this plane, or a scoliosis.

Typically, scoliosis is classified as either congenital, meaning there were vertebral deformities or anomalies present at birth, or acquired. So it happened after birth. The congenital accounts for about 15 to 20 percent of all cases. And the acquired is 80 to 85 percent of all cases.

In the acquired group, the majority of cases are idiopathic, so around 70 percent or more are idiopathic, meaning cause is not known. The other 30 percent have a cause known, usually either a neuromuscular problem or a structural problem relating to the vertebrae or the discs, usually as a process of aging or degenerative changes, in the latter group.

Of the acquired forms of the scoliosis, the most common one is the idiopathic, cause unknown. The idiopathic scoliosis is classified as to when it first appeared, so it’s classified as infantile, juvenile, adolescent or adult. By far, the commonest one is the adolescent idiopathic scoliosis.

If you think you have a scoliosis, see your family physician. They will ask you some questions. They will examine your back. The doctor may decide that you don’t need an x-ray or any further imaging, or your doctor may decide that you need further workup and a treatment plan.

You might visit a rheumatologist for information on what is, conditions, side effects, symptoms and treatments related to scoliosis, joint pain, and other spinal conditions.

Presenter: Dr. Maziar Badii, Rheumatologist, Vancouver, BC

Local Practitioners: Rheumatologist

This content is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.