Idiopathic Scoliosis

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.

Scoliosis - a sideways spinal curve - can occur for any number of reasons, including:
Further reading: What Causes Scoliosis?

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.

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.

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.

Click here 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.
Book Your Appointment >