A person with scoliosis will have a C- or S-shaped curve in their spine. It can appear at any age, but it often presents from the age of 10 to 12 years, or during the teens, but infants can sometimres have symptoms.The reasons for the change in shape are not usually known. A structural curve is permanent, and may be due to another condition. A nonstructural curve is temporary and it is likely to diseappear with time.
Most children with scoliosis have a mild curve that does not need treatment.
The doctor will recommend following up every 4 to 6 months to monitor the curve of the spine in clinic and periodically with X-rays.
The following factors will be considered by the doctor when deciding on treatment options:
- Sex: Females are more likely than males to have scoliosis that gradually gets worse.
- Severity of the curve: The larger the curve, the greater the risk of it worsening over time. S-shaped curves, also called "double curves," tend to worsen over time. C-shaped curves are less likely to worsen.
- Curve position: A curve that is is located in the center part of the spine is more likely to get worse compared with curves in the lower or upper section.
- Bone maturity: The risk of worsening is lower if the person's bones have stopped growing. Braces are more effective while bones are still growing.
Various exercises and stretches are suggested for scoliosis. They all aim to realign the spine, rib cage, shoulders, and pelvis, to achieve a "normal" posture.
In 2016, researchers noted that there is growing evidence that exercise can help treat scoliosis, but more work is needed to find out which exercises are the most effective.