In most cases, the cause of scoliosis is not known. This is called idiopathic scoliosis. It develops mostly in children and teens and appears to be related to several things, including genetics, as it often runs in families.
There are two types of scoliosis: nonstructural and structural.
Nonstructural (functional) scoliosis
Nonstructural (functional) scoliosis involves a curve in the spine, without rotation, that is reversible because it is caused by a condition such as:
- Pain or a muscle spasm.
- A difference in leg length.
Structural scoliosis involves a curve in the spine, with rotation, that is irreversible and is usually caused by an unknown factor (idiopathic) or a disease or condition such as:
- Disorders that were present at birth (congenital), such as Reference spina bifida Opens New Window, in which the spinal canal does not close properly; or a disorder that affects the formation of bones. These curves can be harder to correct. They often get worse as the child grows, especially during the teen years.
- Nerve or muscle disorders, such as Reference cerebral palsy Opens New Window, Reference Marfan's syndrome Opens New Window, or Reference muscular dystrophy Opens New Window.
In adults, scoliosis may result from changes in the spine due to aging (degenerative changes). These degenerative changes may be caused by Reference osteoarthritis Opens New Window.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference November 19, 2012|
|Medical Review:||Reference John Pope, MD - Pediatrics
Reference Robert B. Keller, MD - Orthopedics