Types and Causes of Scoliosis in Edina, MN

What are the most common types and causes of scoliosis?


There are many different causes and therefore many different types of scoliosis. Some forms of the disease are relatively benign, while others are a cause for great concern because scoliosis can be an indication of severe underlying health conditions and/or the condition can be rapidly progressive (worsening).

The most prevalent form of scoliosis is known as idiopathic scoliosis. The term “idiopathic” means literally that the condition has “no known cause”.  About 80% of all scoliosis cases fall into this category. Idiopathic scoliosis is the one that gets the most attention because it is also the one which, in addition to being most prevalent, tends to affect children and adolescents, and can also be rapidly progressive (worsening).  The next most common type of scoliosis is known as “congenital”. The term “congenital” means that the problem stems from a developmental issue from birth. This category constitutes approximately 10% of all scoliosis cases. Examples of congenital scoliosis are curves caused by a short leg or a malformed vertebrae. Such malformations then cause the spine to curve because of the imbalance. Another category of scoliosis, accounting for between 5% and 7% of all cases, is what is known as “neuromuscular”.  Diseases such as cerebral palsy, spinal muscle atrophy, or muscular dystrophy fall into this category.  Finally, there are a host of other types that are less common. Trauma, neurofibromatosis, soft tissue contractures and tumors of various sorts are examples.

  • 80% of all scoliosis cases are of no known cause and are therefore called “idiopathic”.
  • Idiopathic scoliosis is the one that causes the greatest concern in children because it can be rapidly progressive.
  • Malformations like a short leg and misshapen vertebrae account for about 10% of cases.
  • 5-7% of scoliosis results from diseases like cerebral palsy and muscular dystrophy.
  • Trauma, tumors, and contractures of soft tissue can also cause scoliosis.

Because there are so many causes of scoliosis and the implications of each are so different, it is essential that a comprehensive evaluation be done to determine the source of the deformity.  At ScoliTech we take a thorough history and do a comprehensive examination to determine the source of your scoliosis.

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