Analysing what causes scoliosis

While scoliosis most commonly develops during adolescence, this debilitating condition can affect anyone at any time of life. Some people aren’t affected by scoliosis until they reach old age; others notice the symptoms far earlier. In some cases, the condition is actually present from birth (although this is quite rare).

The causes of scoliosis

In around 80% of cases, the exact cause of scoliosis is unclear. This is known as idiopathic scoliosis, which is by far the most common form of the condition. Idiopathic scoliosis is thought to occur due to genetic factors, but nobody knows for sure.

When scoliosis is not idiopathic, the cause may be one of the following:
  • Muscular dystrophy (also known as MD). This is a genetic condition that weakens the muscles over time. This gradual weakening can lead to – among other things – curvature of the spine. Learn more >

  • Cerebral palsy. This condition affects the patient’s movement and coordination, and can also cause irregular posture. Learn more >

  • Birth defects. As mentioned above, some people are born with scoliosis because their spines developed improperly in the womb. This is known as congenital scoliosis. Learn more >

  • Marfan syndrome. This is a hereditary disorder that affects the body’s connective tissues, which in turn can have an effect on the patient’s spine. Learn more >

  • Ageing. Getting older will naturally have an adverse effect on one’s body, and some previously healthy people are affected by scoliosis in their later years due to changes in the discs and joints that make up the spine. Learn more >
In the future, we may understand more about scoliosis (particularly idiopathic scoliosis), and this will hopefully help doctors to prevent some cases of scoliosis before they emerge. In the meantime, all we can do is treat the symptoms of scoliosis, such as postural deformities, decreased mobility, and chronic pain.

Surgical correction is the most common method for treating scoliosis, but many scoliotics find that they are able to overcome the symptoms of their condition through non-surgical, exercise-based physical therapy.

Click here to learn about non-invasive alternatives to scoliosis surgery; alternatively, please contact Scoliosis SOS if you wish to book an initial consultation with one of our scoliosis consultants.

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