Scoliosis is a term, which is used to describe a
condition characterized by the presence of one or more abnormal spinal curves
in a lateral direction to the right or left of midline. The presence of
scoliosis does always represent disease. A lateral curvature of the spine
typically assumes an S or C shape. Some scoliosis are
associated with significant rotation of vertebrae within the curved area of the
spine. This is often referred to as a rotary scoliosis. The spine has normal curves when
looking from the side, but it should look straight when looking from the front.
four primary categories of scoliosis; developmental (congenital) scoliosis,
degenerative scoliosis, neuromuscular scoliosis and idiopathic scoliosis. Lower
extremity leg length inequality (LLI) can lead to a lateral curvature in the
low back with compensatory curve to the opposite side in the mid back. Other
less common causes for scoliosis include spinal bifida, muscular dystrophy,
spinal muscular atrophy, spinal tumors and cerebral palsy. Over 80% of scoliosis is considered to
be idiopathic meaning that there is no known or confirmed underlying cause.
Most cases of idiopathic scoliosis are found in otherwise healthy asymptomatic
usually develops in the midback or in the thoracolumbar region which is where
the mid back (thoracic spine) and low back (lumbar spine) meet. Less often it
can be primarily limited to the low back.
occur due secondary to a birth defect
(congenital) or may be acquired due to a loss of structural stability or due to
a loss of supportive integrity due to other disorders.
spines have curves. Some curves in the neck, midback and lower back are normal.
In the neck and low back the curve in the anterior to posterior direction is
referred to as the lordosis. In the mid back, the anterior-posterior curve is
referred to as the kyphosis. These spinal curves help to absorb shock and help
to provide balance and alignment over the pelvis. The term scoliosis refers to
abnormal curves in the spinal column beyond the normal curve variance; we refer
to this as scoliosis.