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As leaders in Scoliosis and Spine Care, Monmouth Scoliosis Center is a group of Physicians, Physical Therapists, and Chiropractors working together under one roof to offer patients the best opportunity to relieve pain and restore optimal function.

What is Scoliosis?

This page will help you understand what scoliosis is, its causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and available treatments. Whether you are a concerned parent, a curious individual, or someone seeking information about scoliosis, we are here to help! Let’s dive in and explore this fascinating condition together.

Defining Scoliosis


Scoliosis is a medical condition characterized by an abnormal sideways curvature of the spine with rotation of one or more spinal vertebrae (bones). In a healthy spine, when viewed from behind, it should appear straight. However, in individuals with scoliosis, the spine may curve to the left or right, forming an “S”  or a “C” shape. This curvature can develop at any age, but it most commonly occurs during the growth spurt just before puberty.

Imagine your spine as the backbone of a roller coaster. A healthy spine would resemble a smooth, straight track. However, in scoliosis, the track twists and turns, creating unexpected loops and drops. This structural irregularity can cause various physical and psychological challenges for those affected.

Causes & Risk Factors


While the exact cause of scoliosis is often unknown (idiopathic scoliosis), several factors can contribute to its development. These factors include genetic predisposition, muscle imbalances, birth defects, neuromuscular conditions, and certain diseases like Marfan syndrome or muscular dystrophy.

Let’s imagine a garden with different types of plants. Each plant requires specific nurturing and care. Similarly, scoliosis can be likened to a unique garden, where various factors intertwine, contributing to the development of a spinal curvature.

Symptoms & Diagnosis


Identifying scoliosis early is crucial for effective management. While mild cases may not exhibit noticeable symptoms, severe scoliosis can cause physical signs, including unequal shoulder height, uneven waistline, rib prominence, or leaning to one side.

To diagnose scoliosis, a healthcare professional will perform a comprehensive examination, which may include a physical assessment, medical history evaluation, and imaging tests like X-rays or MRI scans. Think of this process as a detective investigating clues to solve a mystery.

Scoliosis Treatment

Types of Scoliosis


Scoliosis can manifest in different forms, depending on its cause and age of onset. The main types include:

Congenital Scoliosis

This occurs due to a birth defect in the spine’s development, such as vertebrae fusion or malformation.

Neuromuscular Scoliosis

This type is associated with conditions that affect the muscles and nerves, such as cerebral palsy or spinal muscular atrophy.

Degenerative Scoliosis

Often seen in older adults, this type develops due to the natural wear and tear of the spine, leading to the loss of its structural integrity.

Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis

The most common type, typically appearing during adolescence, with no known cause.

Treatment Options

The treatment approach for scoliosis depends on several factors, including the severity of the curvature, age, and skeletal maturity of the individual.

Treatment options include:

Bracing: In mild, moderate and even in some severe cases, a specially designed brace may be prescribed. Braces vary in effectiveness. One of the newest braces is called the ScoliBrace. The ScoliBrace has been shown in some cases to not only stop the progression of the curvature, but also to reduce the curvature. Reduction of the curvature occurs in most cases where the spine is not fully developed. This is why catching scoliosis early is so important.

Exercise and Rehabilitation: Exercise and rehabilitation play a crucial role in managing scoliosis.
They can help improve posture, strengthen muscles, and increase flexibility, ultimately reducing the risk of progression and alleviating associated discomfort. Targeted exercises, such as stretching, strengthening, and core stabilization exercises, can help correct imbalances, enhance spinal alignment, and promote overall spinal health. Physical therapy programs tailored to each individual’s specific needs and the severity of their scoliosis can provide guidance and support throughout the journey. By consistently engaging in appropriate exercises and rehabilitation, individuals with scoliosis can enhance their physical well-being, build resilience, and maintain an active and fulfilling lifestyle. Remember, always consult a healthcare professional for personalized exercise recommendations and guidance.

Surgery: Severe cases, where the curvature exceeds a certain degree or causes significant symptoms, may require surgical intervention. Surgeons may use various techniques, such as spinal fusion or instrumentation, to straighten and stabilize the spine.

Observation: Historically for mild cases, a “watch and wait” approach has been taken. This group’s approach discourages the observation approach because of how quickly a mild scoliosis can progress, particularly in children. Instead, actively treating mild cases with exercise and even bracing can prevent progression of scoliosis and in some cases significantly reduce the curvature. Imagine treatment options as a toolbox, with different tools available to address scoliosis based
on its unique characteristics.

Scoliosis is a complex condition that affects the spine’s curvature, requiring early detection and appropriate management. By understanding its causes, types, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment options, individuals and their families can make informed decisions and seek timely medical intervention. Remember, seeking professional advice from a healthcare provider is essential to tailor the treatment plan to each individual’s needs. Stay informed, stay proactive, and remember that living with scoliosis is manageable with the right support and care.