Scoliosis was originally a Greek word meaning curved or bent. Today it is a word used to describe the most common type of spinal curvature. Scoliosis is simply a descriptive term, like headache, and not a precise diagnosis.
When a scoliosis develops the spine bends sideways and rotates along its vertical axis. These changes have cosmetic and physiological effects with long-term consequences which may result in significant health problems with severe curves. Spotting and treating a curve early may allow a patient to try non-operative treatment like bracing. If curves are discovered late, when they are already severe, treatment can be more difficult and sometimes work less well.
Back pain is a very common problem and it is even more common for people with scoliosis. Some people with scoliosis don’t have pain or it is not a major issue. However, for others, pain can be very severe and affect every part of their lives.