Scoliosis happens when the spine grows with an abnormal, side-to-side curve. We call scoliosis by different names. The name depends on the age when it is diagnosed:

  • Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis – diagnosed at age 10 and older
  • Early onset scoliosis (EOS), including:
    • Congenital scoliosis – diagnosed at birth or shortly after birth
    • Infantile idiopathic scoliosis – diagnosed under age 5
    • Juvenile idiopathic scoliosis – diagnosed between ages 6 and 9

In pre-teens and teens with scoliosis, the spine doesn’t grow straight. Instead, it curves as it grows.

This usually happens in an “S” or “C” shape. Sometimes it also twists as it grows. Spinal curves range from mild to severe. They are measured in degrees.

  • Mild: Less than 20 degrees
  • Moderate: Between 25 degrees and 40 degrees
  • Severe: More than 50 degrees

Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis

Sometimes, the spinal curve will be stable. This means it will not change much over time. In other cases, the curve is progressive. This means it gets worse over time.

Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis affects girls more often than boys.

Spinal curves often develop during a growth spurt in the early teen years.