What Is Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis?

Scoliosis is a condition affecting your spine, and is defined as a curvature of the spine of more than 10 degrees. The curvature can lead to an “S” or “C” shape in the spine, depending on the location and degree of the curve. Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis (AIS) is a common form, occurring between the ages of 10 and 18 at the beginning of puberty or during a growth spurt. Idiopathic means that the condition does not have a known cause, but a genetic link is suspected. While most cases may remain small and cause no problems as well as requiring no treatment, some of the cases may become severe, meaning the curvature develops past 45 degrees. The Scoliscore test can be used at the diagnosis of Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis to determine if the curvature is likely to become a severe case of scoliosis.

Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis

Symptoms of AIS may include some back pain, a difference in leg length, asymmetrical shoulders (particularly when bending forward), a curvature of the spine to the left or right, or a misalignment in the torso between the ribs and the hips. The condition is normally painless for the patient, and the organs will remain unharmed. Diagnosis involves measuring the degree of the curvature and possibly x-rays. Treatment depends on the degree of the curvature and how much more growth the patient is expected to have. For mild cases, core-strengthening exercises or inpatient rehabilitation may be used, while braces and surgery may be chosen for more serious progressions.

The Scoliscore Test

The use of the Scoliscore test can help doctors plan out the treatment plan for specific scoliosis cases. The test looks at the DNA in the patient’s saliva to determine how likely they will be to develop a severe case of AIS. Along with the current angle of curvature of the spine, the doctor can better determine if the case may need more involved treatments such as braces or surgery. As of now, the test is only being used for Caucasian males and females with signs of Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis with a curvature of higher than 10 degrees.


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  1. about 3 of my friends have this, they have some kind of brace to put i their backs before they reach 18…

  2. wow! I’ve never heard of this before. Thanks for the info. I’m on my 8th months now and I’ll keep this in mind. Thanks.

  3. I remember them testing us for Scoliosis in school every year. I was always so scared of that test for some reason, and all they had us little kids do was bend over and touch our toes, then stand up straight while they felt our backbone. Your info. here’s great!

  4. I never heard of this illness but I will keep this in mind. Hopefully when my child grows I hope he don’t get this.

  5. Darrin Welch says

    Symptoms Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis generally does not result in pain or neurologic symptoms. The curve of the spine does not put pressure on organs, including the lung or heart, and symptoms such as shortness of breath are not seen with AIS. When scoliosis begins in adolescence patients often have some back pain, typically in the low back area. Although it is often associated with scoliosis, it is generally felt that the curvature does not result in pain. Low back pain is not uncommon in adolescences in general. Many teens experience back pain due to participating in a large number of activities without having good core abdominal and back strength, as well as flexibility of the hamstrings. Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis generally does not result in pain or neurologic problems. If these symptoms occur, further evaluation and testing may be necessary to include an MRI.

  6. Carol S. Davenport says

    Once a problem is detected, doctors will use a medical and family history, physical exams and diagnostic tests to determine the nature and extent of your child’s scoliosis. Your doctor will review your child’s complete prenatal and birth history, as well as any family history of scoliosis.

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