Idiopathic scoliosis is the most common type of scoliosis
(a condition where the spine curves sideways). Approximately 8 out of 10 cases of scoliosis are classed as ‘idiopathic’, meaning that there is no known cause for the patient’s spinal curvature.
What does ‘idiopathic’ mean?
The word ‘idiopathic’ essentially means ‘without a clear underlying cause’. It is derived from the Greek words ‘idios’ (one’s own) and ‘pathos’ (suffering). If a disease or condition is idiopathic, it seemingly develops on its own rather than as the result of another condition.
While the cause of idiopathic scoliosis is often a complete mystery, it is believed to occur for any number of reasons, including:
More commonly, however, scoliosis occurs with no apparent underlying cause. This is called idiopathic scoliosis.
Who does idiopathic scoliosis affect?
In theory, idiopathic scoliosis can affect anyone at any time of life. In the vast majority of cases, however, idiopathic scoliosis develops during adolescence, with the appearance of the curve roughly coinciding with the onset of puberty.
- Infantile idiopathic scoliosis is diagnosed in children between 0 and 3 years of age.
- Juvenile idiopathic scoliosis is diagnosed in children aged between 3 and 9 years of age.
- Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis is diagnosed between the ages of 10 and 18
These are the most common times for idiopathic scoliosis to be diagnosed and early detection allows children and young adults to be monitored and treated before their curvature becomes too severe. If not treated early, idiopathic scoliosis patients may require spinal surgery.
Scoliosis is more common in females than in males
, and adolescent girls are more likely to develop idiopathic scoliosis than any other sex/age group, so it’s important you check your child for idiopathic scoliosis regularly if you think they may be at risk. We teach you how you can check your child for scoliosis at home in this blog.
What causes idiopathic scoliosis?
The cause of idiopathic scoliosis is, by definition, unknown. If we knew why it happened, it wouldn’t be idiopathic!
That being said, it is widely thought that idiopathic scoliosis occurs due to genetic factors
. In fact, it was reported in 2016 that researchers at a Japanese university had potentially identified the gene responsible for triggering spinal curvature: it’s called LBX1 and you can read about it here
Is there a cure for idiopathic scoliosis?
Idiopathic scoliosis cannot be ‘cured’, as such, but it is often possible to arrest and even reverse the progression of the patient’s spinal curve before it grows too severe. Depending on the patient’s circumstances and the severity of their condition, they may be treated via bracing, surgery, physical therapy, or a combination of these methods.
to learn more about treatment options available to idiopathic scoliosis sufferers, or visit our ScolioGold
page to learn about how we treat curvatures of the spine here at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic using exercise-based therapy.
If you have any questions about idiopathic scoliosis, or if you’re interested in our treatment options, give us a call on 0207 488 4428, or fill in our enquiry form below.