Scoliosis is the medical term for 3 dimensional spinal curvature. It's thought to affect as many as 35 million people worldwide. The risk of developing scoliosis is known to have a genetic component, but can also be due to environmental factors and neuro-muscular diseases. In the majority of cases, however, the cause is unknown.
In mild cases it can often be tolerated, but severe cases may need surgery. Correctional 'braces' are also sometimes used, but their effectiveness is disputed.
Further reading Dtsch Arztebl Int vol.107(49);
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