When you look at the spine, it is typically straight. Scoliosis is present when the spine shifts to the right or to the left.

It is defined as the lateral deviation of the normal vertical line of the spine which, when measured by x-ray, is greater than ten degrees. Scoliosis consists of a lateral curvature of the spine with rotation of the vertebrae within the curve. Rotation of the vertebrae also occurs which produces the rib cage and flank muscle asymmetry.