Under normal circumstances the spine is straight; however, if you or your child has scoliosis the spine will get curved in the upper or middle section. The size of the curve differs. Smaller curves are more common than larger ones.

The disease affects girls more severely than boys. It most commonly starts after the age of ten but can also develop in much younger children and even babies.

Although the exact cause is unknown it is not believed to be caused by posture or physical activity. ​​

The most common symptom of scoliosis is a curved spine. However there are other more subtle symptoms such as uneven or crooked shoulders, very prominent ribs on one side of the body, an uneven waist line or one hip being higher than the other one.

Scoliosis often causes a child's body to lean towards one side or the other. Another common symptom is pain especially in the lower back area.

Sometimes the symptoms are too mild to be noticed during childhood or adolescence. They may get more noticeable if your child is going through a growth spurt.

If your child is experiencing any of the above symptoms at birth, or if your child's symptoms develop at a later stage, make an appointment with a specialist working with the Mind and Brain Service Line at The Aga Khan University Hospital.

Your time with your doctor may be limited, so make sure to prepare for your visit beforehand. Here are some tips to help get you started​

There are a number of ways for doctors to examine your child for scoliosis. The first thing your doctor will do is physically examine your child in detail. A thorough physical examination will involve your doctor examining your child in various positions to see how his or her spine looks from each angle.

For example when your child is standing straight your doctor will be able to see if his or her shoulders are uneven or if there's any other problems with the structure of the spine.

However a physical examination is hardly enough to tell if there is a serious problem. For this reason doctors use a number of tests to create images of your child's body. The most commonly used method of diagnosis is X-rays. This test will allow your doctor to pinpoint the exact location where there is a problem in the spine. It is a non-invasive and easy test to conduct. However it should not be used for small children and infants because the rays are harmful for them.

There are both surgical and non-surgical methods of treatment for scoliosis in adolescents. The type of treatment that your doctor will recommend depends upon your child age and the severity of his or her disease.

If your child has a mild curvature, he will be recommended no treatment and will be put under observation with intermittent visits to the doctor for evaluation.

One of the available non-surgical methods of treatment is, wearing a brace. Although this is more of a preventative measure rather than a treatment method, it may help your child's condition from getting worse.

If the curve in your child spine is severe than he or she may require surgery to correct it. Surgery to correct scoliosis is known as spinal fusion. In this type of surgery your surgeon will attempt to realign the bones that make up the spine. Small pieces of bone are inserted into your child's spine and joined together with a metal rod until the bone fuses together.

In most cases surgery is quite successful and the curvature of your child spine is improved over time.

Please click here for some guidelines on "what to do before your surgery". ​

Please click h​ere for some guidelines on "what to do on the day of your surgery". ​

Scoliosis is quite commonly and easily treated and causes very few complications in most cases. After the surgery your child will have to remain in hospital for up to one week. He or she can then resume school and their normal activities. They can even play sports but physical contact sports such as football are discouraged.

Please click h​​ere for some guidelines on "what to do after your surgery". ​

The Aga Khan University Hospital offers various support services to help with managing or recovering from the disease or condition. These include but are not limited to nutrition, physiotherapy, rehabilitation, specialized clinics and some patient support groups. Your doctor or nurse will advise you accordingly.

The Aga Khan University Hospital offers financial assistance to those who are in need and fulfil the eligibility criteria. For further information, you can contact the Patient Welfare Department. You can find the contact number of the Patient Welfare Department in the 'Important Numbers' section on the website homepage.​

The financial counselling staff is available during office hours, at the main PBSD (Patient Business Services Department), to answer your financial queries on treatments' costs and authorize admissions on partial deposit as per hospital policies allow. The financial counsellor in the emergency room is open 24/7. You can find the contact number of the Patient Business Services in the 'Important Numbers' section on the website homepage.

Your doctor and or nurse will give you specific instructions about the prescribed medication. Please ensure that you take or use the prescribed medicine as advised. It can be dangerous to your health if you self-prescribe. Please inform the doctor or nurse beforehand if you have experienced any adverse reactions to any medications in the past. If you experience any symptoms of drug poisoning, overdose or severe reaction please contact the Pharmacy Service at The Aga Khan University Hospital immediately. You can find the contact number of the Pharmacy Services in the 'Important Numbers' section on the website homepage.

The information provided on our website is for educational purposes and not intended to be a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. You should always seek the advice of your doctor or other healthcare professional provider.