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Scoliosis is an abnormal curvature of the spine in an "S" configuration. It is most commonly diagnosed in teenagers, and is most often idiopathic, that is, without known cause. Children from ages 10 to 15 are often screened at school every year or two. Almost all children identified in school screening programs will not have progressive disease, but undetected and untreated idiopathic scoliosis in adolescents can cause progressive deformity of the spine and eventual back and other health problems.
Scoliosis can also be caused by other factors, including spinal cord problems, or even muscle spasm. Any new noticeable curvature of the spine should be evaluated by a physician, as well as any child referred from a school spine screening program.