Scoliosis - Causes

Scoliosis is not caused by poor posture, diet, or carrying heavy objects. The cause of scoliosis is known in only about 20 percent of all cases. These cases are classified as follows:

  • Congenital scoliosis is caused by defects in the spine present at birth. This form of scoliosis is also accompanied by other disorders of various organs.
  • Neuromuscular scoliosis is caused by problems with the nerves or muscles. They are unable to support the spine in its normal position. The most common causes of this type of scoliosis are cerebral palsy (see cerebral palsy entry) and muscular dystrophy (see muscular dystrophy entry).
  • Degenerative scoliosis is caused by deterioration of the bony material (discs) that separate the vertebrae. Arthritis in the spinal cord can also lead to degenerative scoliosis.

In four out of five scoliosis cases, however, the cause is unknown. Such cases are known as idiopathic scoliosis. Children with idiopathic scoliosis have not suffered from related disorders such as bone or joint disease early in life. Some researchers believe that the condition may be inherited, but scientists have yet to find a gene responsible for the disease.

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