Causes of Scoliosis

On an average, scoliosis affects about 2% of females and 0.5% of males. In most cases, the causes of scoliosis are unknown. These kinds of scoliosis are known as idiopathic scoliosis and depending on the age of the person may be known as:

  • Infantile idiopathic scoliosis – develops in infants under the age of three years
  • Juvenile idiopathic scoliosis – develops in children between the ages of three to ten years
  • Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis – develops in children who are over the age of ten years

More than 80% of people with scoliosis have idiopathic scoliosis with the majority of cases being those of adolescent girls.

Doctors do not know the exact causes of scoliosis. The disorder seems to run in families and is thought to involve hereditary factors. Experimental testing is being conducted to determine the risk of scoliosis worsening in a particular individual. This type of blood test may become more common in the future.

Less common are the other types of scoliosis. These may be caused by:

  • Birth defects affecting the development of the spinal vertebrae
  • Neuromuscular disorders like muscular dystrophy or cerebral palsy
  • One leg being shorter than the other
  • Age-related degenerative diseases like arthritis, spondylitis and osteoporosis
  • Tumors such as osteoid osteoma. This is a tumor that forms on the spine. The pain causes a person to lean to one side to reduce the pressure on the tumor and lessen the pain. This posture can lead to spinal deformity.