I have this affliction, which created a lot of grief for me in adolescence. Bracing was done, but it doesn't actually straighten the back but rather helps halt the progression of it. I could have opted for surgery in adulthood, but I never had the wherewithal to have it.
I have a visible hump on the back on the left side, but I don't know if that is a skeletal thing, or muscle/fat accumulation that could have been removed. That's about the only thing that might be a tad unsightly. I have always sat up straight, etc.
The only time where the scoliosis may impact me is if I am climbing up steep stairs. I will get a little bit winded. That's common.
From the article:
IN 2004, THE US PREVENTIVE Services Task Force (USPSTF) called for an end to a century-long practice of screening adolescent schoolchildren for scoliosis.1 According to its panel of medical and public health experts, scoliosis screening did not meet the criteria of evidence-based medicine, standards first articulated and upheld by the USPSTF and the US Public Health Service in 1984. The diagnostic tool—a visual inspection of a child performing a forward-bending test—remained unreliable, often leading to a sizable number of false-positive results.2 School-based screening not only diagnosed scoliosis in children who did not really have it but also often led those who did have a mild curvature to endure painful and unnecessary brace wear.3 With this assessment, the USPSTF attempted to put America on the same path as many other industrialized nations (e.g., Canada, Great Britain, and Australia) that have overturned the long tradition of mandatory spinal screening of its school-aged citizens.4
Despite the USPSTF's stance, 33 US states still either mandate or recommend school-based scoliosis screening.5 Proponents of scoliosis screening maintain that early detection is necessary to catch and treat spinal curvatures before they become severe enough to cause chronic pain and negatively affect cardiopulmonary functioning.6 Although researchers at the University of Iowa have questioned the benefit of medical intervention in certain cases of idiopathic scoliosis, the Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the Scoliosis Research Society all endorse screening and bracing adolescents who have curvatures of greater than 10 degrees.7 These medical professionals believe that failure to screen for scoliosis would put thousands of adolescents at risk for developing a very real and, at times, disabling condition.
Sometimes it is bad. I knew of people who had it much worse than I did. However, you wonder if the treatment, especially bracing, is worth the grief and the stares from people in public. I went through that crap.