Scoliosis is a three-dimensional change in the normal shape of the spine that leads to excessive sideways or forward curves. It most often develops in children during the growth spurt just before puberty. But some adults can suffer from scoliosis too.
For adults affected by scoliosis, the curve may be a remnant of scoliosis that developed during childhood. More commonly, though, adult scoliosis happens as a result of the spinal wear and tear that comes with aging, usually in combination with another condition that affects the spine, such as arthritis or osteoporosis. It is usually arthritis or osteoporosis symptoms that cause the discomfort and disability that lead people to seek medical care.