What is Scoliosis

Scoliosis is a condition of the spine and is defined as an abnormal lateral (side to side) curve measuring 10 degrees or more on a standing x-ray using the Cobb’s angle method.

The factors that influence scoliosis include genetics, medical conditions, birth defects, age, degree of the curve, Risser sign, maturation, in adults post surgery, injuries and asymmetrical degeneration of the spine

Scoliosis is divided into 4 categories:

Congenital – is a condition that occurs from a birth defect in the vertebrae causing scoliosis to present at birth.

Neuromuscular –  is a type of scoliosis that causes an irregular curvature of the spine. It is associated with disorders of the nerve or muscular systems such as cerebral palsy, spina bifida, and spinal cord injury. Neuromuscular scoliosis is also known as syndromic scoliosis.

Idiopathic Scoliosis – condition of the growing spine, which affects 80% of scoliosis cases in children

Adult Degenerative Scoliosis – The most common types of adult scoliosis include primary de novo degenerative scoliosis and progressive idiopathic scoliosis. Primary degenerative scoliosis represents a new (de novo) curve that develops in patients with no prior history of scoliosis, and typically affects the lumbar or thoracolumbar spine. Progressive idiopathic scoliosis represents curve progression and spinal degeneration in adults with pre-existing idiopathic scoliosis.

Signs and symptoms of scoliosis are:

  • shoulders that are different heights.
  • one shoulder blade which is more prominent than the other.
  • the head which is not centred directly above the pelvis.
  • the appearance of a raised, prominent hip.
  • the rib cage appears to be different heights.
  • an uneven waist.
  • leaning of entire body to one side.
  • in adults pain is usually the indicator for further investigation

If you have picked up any of these signs or symptoms and have not yet had a medical consultation, please contact us at your earliest convenience.

All children ages 10-11 years and older are encouraged to be screened for scoliosis. The earlier the condition is picked up the better the condition is managed. Dubal-Beaupere found an intimate relation between the velocity of growth of the upper body and the progression of a scoliosis curve. It is incredibly important to seek treatment as early as possible, to start managing the condition for a better outcome. Even if the symptoms are noticed in late adolescence or adulthood, early treatment is advised.

​Each case of scoliosis is unique, and severity and progression is different for everyone. The progression of the curve in adolescents is affected by:

  • genetic insult.
  • degree of curve
  • velocity of growth and maturation
  • age
  • the starting time of treatment.
  • Exercise – level of activity

Click here to find out more about the types of braces used for scoliosis treatment.

For more research on the effect of braces in treatment, click here.

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