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In scoliosis, lateral curvature to the left or right of part of the spine renders the vertebral column S-shaped. The cause of this complaint, which affects growing children, is unknown. It is often discovered by the physical education teacher, coach, or parents, and should lead to a visit to the doctor.

Scoliosis occurs in about 5% of all children in a normal population, but a mild form is more common than that among athletes who pursue asymmetrical training, e.g. tennis players and javelin throwers. Javelin
throwers who have been training for more than 8 years can develop a type of scoliosis which appears to cause them no problems in the short term. The explanation may be found in the throwing mechanism:
during the throw the body is bent towards the throwing arm and is twisted at the same time as the back becomes more lordotic (sway-backed). Repeated training with throwing movements results in the upper back muscles becoming more highly developed on one side of the body.


Scoliosis hardly ever causes discomfort or pain and does not preclude physical activity. The most important sign is the curvature of the spine, which is established by X-ray. Severe scoliosis can cause complications involving the heart and lungs in middle life.


– All children and young people with scoliosis should be managed by an orthopedic specialist.
– In mild cases the patient should be kept under observation, while in more severe cases a brace or surgery may be needed.

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