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Every persons spine curves a little bit a certain amount of curvature is necessary for people to move and walk properly But three people out of 100 have a condition that causes the spine to curve too much a condition called scoliosis pronounced skoh-lee-oh-sis The name comes from the Greek word skoliosis which means curvature What Is Scoliosis Scoliosis is sort of a medical mystery - no one knows what causes the most common form of scoliosis idiopathic scoliosis Idiopathic is a medical term that means it is not known what caused the condition or disease The condition can be hereditary so a person who has scoliosis often has family members who have it Girls are much more prone to developing scoliosis than boys teenage girls over the age of 9 are five times more likely to be diagnosed with the condition than boys of the same age Many times a person with scoliosis has been developing the condition since childhood But because scoliosis can develop very gradually in most cases it isnt diagnosed until a person is between the ages of 10 and 14 In scoliosis the spine slowly curves from side to side into an S shape When the curve gets severe it can be visible and cause discomfort If the curve gets really severe it can even affect a persons breathing and heart function How Is Scoliosis Diagnosed Some teens have visible signs of scoliosis Sometimes a curvature of the spine is obvious or one shoulder blade is noticeably higher than the other one Other times though its not so obvious And since scoliosis doesnt hurt or happen suddenly its not always easy to diagnose In the United States almost half of the states require public schools to test for scoliosis to help make diagnoses If you live in one of these states you are probably already familiar with the test thats given called the forward-bending test The
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