ALFRED PASIEKA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY ALFRED PASIEKA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
False colour x-ray of the thoracic spine of a man aged 64 years, showing a slight coliosis (lateral curve). Scoliosis typically begins in childhood, progressing to an S-shaped spine until the age when growth stops. The condition may result from congenital abnormality of the spine; from polio; arthritis; or due to one leg being shorter than the other. Slight scoliosis of unknown cause may not require treat- ment. Progressive scoliosis may need spinal immobilization with a brace or surgery. Also seen is slight osteoarthritis. The arthritic vertebrae are closer together and have rough and ragged edges. Osteoarthritis is a common joint disease that affects most people over the age of 60.
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