Scoliosis is defined as the abnormal curvature of the spine, usually appearing in an S or C shape.
The most common type of scoliosis, idiopathic, does not have any known causes. This form of the condition occurs in children and teens and is often detected during puberty, when rapid growth is common. It is important to note that idiopathic scoliosis tends to run in families, so genetics is believed to be a contributing factor.
While the causes of idiopathic scoliosis still largely remain a mystery, doctors have been able to pinpoint the causes of other types of scoliosis. They are categorized as:
- Neuromuscular – This form of scoliosis is caused by an underlying neuromuscular condition, such as spina bifida, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy or myopathy. When these conditions occur, the nerves and muscles in the spine are unable to maintain their proper alignment.
- Congenital – Congenital scoliosis is caused by improper formation or separation of the vertebrae, though the exact cause of the vertebrae’s malformation is unknown. Patients with this form of the condition often require corrective surgery.
- Degenerative – As its name suggests, degenerative scoliosis is caused by the degeneration of the spine and most commonly affects the lower (lumbar) spine of patients over the age of 65.
Although some of the causes of scoliosis, particularly with idiopathic, are somewhat unclear, there are numerous treatment options available for patients. Specific treatment options will depend on the type and severity of the condition. The physicians and surgeons at Tampa General Hospital are able to diagnose and treat all types of scoliosis.