What is Scoliosis?
The Scoliosis Research Society defines scoliosis as a curvature of the spine to the side that also includes rotation. As previously mentioned, scoliosis causes postural and trunk alignment changes that cannot be corrected by “standing up straight. On an x-ray, the spine may appear to have an “s” or “c” shape. The severity of scoliosis is determined by measuring the angle of the curvature, also called a Cobb angle. A minimum of “10° of Cobb” needs to be present for a diagnosis of scoliosis.
Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS), the most common type of scoliosis, is diagnosed in children aged 10-18 years. Idiopathic means no identifiable cause is known, but 30% of children with AIS have some family history of the condition.
Other types of scoliosis include congenital, neuromuscular, and early onset (infantile and juvenile).
- Congenital scoliosis is caused by a deformity in the bones of the spine that occurs during a baby’s early development in the womb.
- Neuromuscular scoliosis is caused by a medical condition of the nervous system, such as cerebral palsy or muscular dystrophy, which triggers weakening of the muscles that support the spine.
- The cause of early onset scoliosis is not known. Early onset scoliosis includes infantile scoliosis diagnosed from birth to 3 years of age, and juvenile scoliosis diagnosed before the age of 10.