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What Is Scoliosis ?

Scoliosis is a disorder of the spine with abnormal sideways (Lateral) curvature in the normally straight spine. The normal spine has a natural S curve when viewed from the side of the body, and straight when viewed from the front or back of the body. Scoliosis may have an “S” or “C” curve appearance, whilst a normal spine has an “I” appearance.

What Causes Scoliosis ?

There are many types of scoliosis and various causes for this spinal deformity.

1. Idiopathic Scoliosis: Is the most common type of scoliosis, 80-85% of all scoliosist is idiopathic. This means, the aetiology or cause of this scoliosis is unknown.

Many theories have been formulated, but none have found to be all-encompassing. There is, however, a strong genetic link in idiopathic scoliosis. Scoliosis most oftenly develop in puberty and in adolescents and typically progresses during the adolescent growth spurt. As this type of scoliosis often occurs during adolescence, this condition is sometimes called adolescent scoliosis.

2. Congenital Scoliosis: This is a result of a bone abnormality which is present at birth. It may involve the abnormal formation of the vertebrae or asymmetrical or fused ribs during the prenatal development.

3. Neuromuscular, Connective Tissue & Chromosomal Abnormalities Scoliosis: This appears in patients with spina bifida, cerebral palsy or those with various paralytic-type conditions. This may present when the spine curves to the side due to weakness of the spinal muscles or neurologic problems. This form of scoliosis is especially common for individuals who cannot walk due to their underlying neuromuscular conditions (such as muscular dystrophy or cerebral palsy). This may also be called myopathic scoliosis. Examples include; muscular weakness, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, spina bifida, paralysis, Marfan’s syndrome, and Down’s syndrome.

4. Degenerative Scoliosis: This may result from trauma, bony collapse, previous major back surgery, osteoporosis or wear and tear from repetitive usage. Scoliosis can also develop later in life as joints in the spine degenerate and create a bend in the back. This condition mostly occurs during adult had and sometimes is called adult scoliosis. Studies have also shown that rotational subluxation of the spine is a predictor of progression.