Scoliosis

What Is Scoliosis?

Scoliosis is a lateral (toward the side) curvature in the normally straight vertical line of the spine. When viewed from the side, the spine should show a mild roundness in the upper back and shows a degree of swayback (inward curvature) in the lower back. When a person with a normal spine is viewed from the front or back, the spine appears to be straight. When a person with scoliosis is viewed from the front or back, the spine appears to be curved.

What Causes Scoliosis?

There are many types and causes of scoliosis, including:

  • Congenital scoliosis. Caused by a bone abnormality present at birth.
  • Neuromuscular scoliosis. A result of abnormal muscles or nerves. Frequently seen in people with spina bifida or cerebral palsy or in those with various conditions that are accompanied by, or result in, paralysis.
  • Degenerative scoliosis. This may result from traumatic (from an injury or illness) bone collapse, previous major back surgery, or osteoporosis (thinning of the bones).
  • Idiopathic scoliosis. The most common type of scoliosis, idiopathic scoliosis, has no specific identifiable cause. There are many theories, but none have been found to be conclusive. There is, however, strong evidence that idiopathic scoliosis is inherited.