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Lateral curvature of the spine.



a lateral deviation of the spine in man. Scoliosis develops during the period of rapid growth of the spine, between the ages of five and 15; it is three to six times more common in girls. The deviation may be to the left or to the right. Scoliosis generally occurs in the thoracic segment of the spine. It may subsequently also affect the lumbar segment, causing S-shaped scoliosis. If scoliosis is pronounced, the pelvis becomes misaligned, the gait is abnormal, and lung and heart functions are impaired. Scoliosis combined with kyphosis is called kyphoscoliosis.

Scoliosis may be congenital, caused by abnormal embryonic development, or acquired. Acquired scoliosis may develop from rickets, injuries (usually after a spinal fracture in the lumbar segment), paralysis (for example, during poliomyelitis), or reflex pain (for example, if the sciatic nerve becomes inflamed, resulting in the reflex strain of spinal muscles). Children who do not sit properly at their school desks are often afflicted with scoliosis; this type of scoliosis is usually accompanied by rachitic scoliosis.

Preventive measures are based on eliminating the main causes of the disease. Health standards should be observed in designing children’s furniture, and children should be taught to sit properly at a desk or table. Therapy includes swimming and exercise. Those with pronounced scoliosis can wear special corrective corsets or have surgical treatment.


Movshovich, 1. A. Skolioz. Moscow, 1964.
Liandres, Z. A., and L. K. Zakrevskii. Operativnoe lechente skoliozov u detei. Leningrad, 1967. (Contains bibliography.)