Table of Contents
- Scoliosis facts
- What is scoliosis?
- What causes scoliosis?
- What are the causes of other types of scoliosis?
- What are risk factors for scoliosis?
- What are scoliosis symptoms and signs?
- What tests to health-care professionals use to diagnose scoliosis?
- What types of specialists treat scoliosis?
- What is the treatment for scoliosis?
- What is the treatment for scoliosis? (Continued)
- Are there home remedies for scoliosis?
- What is the prognosis for scoliosis?
- Is there a cure for scoliosis? Is it possible to prevent scoliosis?
- Where can people get more information on scoliosis?
What causes scoliosis?
Scoliosis affects about 2% of females and 0.5% of males. In most cases, the cause of scoliosis is unknown (known as idiopathic). This type of scoliosis is described based on the age when scoliosis develops, as are other some other types of scoliosis.
- If the person is less than 3 years old, it is called infantile idiopathic scoliosis.
- Scoliosis that develops between 3-10 years of age is called juvenile idiopathic scoliosis.
- People who are over 10 years old (10-18 years old) have adolescent idiopathic scoliosis.
More than 80% of people with scoliosis have idiopathic scoliosis, and the majority of those are adolescent girls; the most common location for scoliosis is in the thoracic spine.
Medical literature often has more specific names or terms for scoliosis:
- Kyphoscoliosis: a combination of outward and lateral spine curvature
- Dextroscoliosis: curvature of the spine to the right
- Rotoscoliosis (rotatory): curvature of the vertebral column turned on its axis
- Levoconvex: curvature of the spine to the left
- Thoracolumbar: curvature related to both the thoracic and lumbar regions of the spine
What are the causes of other types of scoliosis?
As stated above, idiopathic scoliosis and its subtypes comprise over 80% of all scoliosis patients. However, there are three other main types of scoliosis:
- Functional: In this type of scoliosis, the spine is normal, but an abnormal curve develops because of a problem somewhere else in the body. This could be caused by one leg being shorter than the other or by muscle spasms in the back.
- Neuromuscular: In this type of scoliosis, there is a problem when the bones of the spine are formed. Either the bones of the spine fail to form completely or they fail to separate from each other during fetal development. This type of congenital scoliosis develops in people with other disorders, including birth defects, muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, or Marfan syndrome (an inherited connective tissue disease). People with these conditions often develop a long C-shaped curve and have weak muscles that are unable to hold them up straight. If the curve is present at birth, it is called congenital. This type of scoliosis is often much more severe and needs more aggressive treatment than other forms of scoliosis.
- Degenerative: Unlike the other forms of scoliosis that are found in children and teens, degenerative scoliosis occurs in older adults. It is caused by changes in the spine due to arthritis known as spondylosis. Weakening of the normal ligaments and other soft tissues of the spine combined with abnormal bone spurs can lead to an abnormal curvature of the spine. The spine can also be affected by osteoporosis, vertebral compression fractures, and disc degeneration.
There are other potential causes of scoliosis, including spine tumors such as osteoid osteoma. This is a benign tumor that can occur in the spine and cause pain. The pain causes people to lean to the opposite side to reduce the amount of pressure applied to the tumor. This can lead to a spinal deformity. In addition, researchers suggest that genetics (hereditary), muscle disorders, and/or abnormal fibrillin metabolism may play a role in causing or contributing to scoliosis development.
What are risk factors for scoliosis?
Age is a risk factor as the symptoms often begin between 9-15 years of age. Being a female increases the risk of scoliosis, and females have a higher risk of worsening spine curvature than males. Although many individuals who develop the problem do not have family members with scoliosis, a family history of scoliosis increases the risk of the disease.
Fu, K.M., J.S. Smith, D.W. Polly, C.P. Ames, et al; Scoliosis Research Society Morbidity and Mortality Committee. "Morbidity and Mortality Associated With Spinal Surgery in Children: A Review of the Scoliosis Research Society Morbidity and Mortality Database." J Neurosurg Pediatr 7.1 Jan. 2011: 37-41.
Mehlman, Charles T. "Idiopathic Scoliosis." Medscape.com. Jan. 29, 2016. <http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1265794-overview>.
Negrini, S., S. Minozzi, J. Bettany-Saltikov, F. Zaina F, et al. "Braces for Idiopathic Scoliosis in Adolescents." Spine (Phila Pa 1976) 35.13 June 1, 2010: 1285-1293.
Phan, P., N. Mezghani, C.E. Aubin, J.A. De Guise, and H. Labelle. "Computer Algorithms and Applications Used to Assist the Evaluation and Treatment of Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis: A Review of Published Articles 2000-2009." Eur Spine J. Jan 30, 2011.
2."Amanda-Scoliosis" by University of Utah Hospital - Radiology Department - X-Ray Image.
3."Scoliosis patient in cheneau brace correcting from 56 to 27 deg" by Weiss HR - Weiss HR. Scoliosis 2007, 2:19. PMID: 18163917. doi:10.1186/1748-7161-2-19
6."Surgical result after ventral fusion of scoliosis" by Weiss HR, Goodall D - Weiss HR, Goodall D. Scoliosis. 2008 Aug 5;3:9. PMID: 1868195 doi:10.1186/1748-7161-3-9