What causes Scoliosis?
Doctors define scoliosis in a particular person based on a number of
factors related to the curve, including:
- Shape. Aside from appearing like the letter
C or S, a curve may occur in two or three dimensions. A nonstructural
curve is a side-to-side curve. A structural curve involves twisting of
the spine and occurs in three dimensions.
- Location. The curve may occur in the upper back
area (thoracic), the lower back area (lumbar) or in both areas (thoracolumbar).
- Direction. The curve can bend to the left or to
- Angle. Doctors figure out the angle of the curve
using the vertebra at the apex of the curve as the starting point.
- Cause. About 80 percent of scoliosis cases are
idiopathic, meaning the cause is unknown.
Many theories have been proposed regarding the causes of scoliosis.
They include connective tissue disorders, hormonal imbalance and abnormality
in the nervous system.
Scoliosis runs in families and may involve genetic (hereditary) factors.
But researchers haven't identified the gene or genes that may cause scoliosis.
Doctors also recognize that spinal cord and brainstem abnormalities play
a role in some cases of scoliosis.