Idiopathic scoliosis overview

Scoliosis is a condition that describes a lateral and abnormal curvature of the spine. Idiopathic scoliosis is the most common form of scoliosis. About 65 percent of scoliosis cases are idiopathic, while the remainder is neuromuscular, congenital or degenerative. Idiopathic means that the cause is not known, though some researchers believe there is a genetic connection in the development of idiopathic scoliosis. Read on to learn about the risk factors, symptoms and treatments for this condition.

Risk factors for idiopathic scoliosis

Idiopathic scoliosis can affect anyone between 10 and 18 years of age but is most common among girls age 10 to 12 and boys age 11 to 16. Studies have begun to make some connections between genetics, with approximately 30 percent of patients having a family history of scoliosis. It has also been proven that girls are more susceptible to severe curvature, which might require intense treatment, including surgery.

It is important to note that idiopathic scoliosis, while the most common form of scoliosis, is still largely uncommon in children. Most children will not develop scoliosis, but there is an increased risk of developing this condition if you have a family member with the condition and/or you fall into the demographics listed above.

Symptoms of idiopathic scoliosis

The onset of this condition typically is gradual, and its early symptoms do not usually include pain. Eventually, as the curvature progresses, it can begin to produce mild pain and an imbalance of the back muscles. Disfigurement becomes more pronounced as the curvature increases over time. If the scoliosis is located in the thoracic (mid-back) region, the ribs and shoulder blade might begin to stick out like a bulge on one side. In addition, the nearer shoulder will begin to sag. Lumbar (lower back) scoliosis can make the pelvis thrust forward on one side, while one leg appears shorter than the other.

Treating idiopathic scoliosis

Many cases of idiopathic scoliosis can be effectively treated with conservative methods of treatment, such as back braces and physical therapy. These methods aim to strengthen the muscles surrounding the spine, which helps to keep the spine in alignment and compensate for the curvature of the spine. Eventually, the goal is to decrease the abnormal curve of the spine and reduce any pain or symptoms caused by idiopathic scoliosis.

If conservative methods of treatment do not provide lasting relief after several weeks or months, your doctor may recommend a spine surgery to help treat the condition. At Laser Spine Institute, we offer a safer and effective alternative to traditional open back surgery.^ Although we do not treat patients under the age of 18, contact our dedicated team for answers to any questions or concerns you have about idiopathic scoliosis and for help finding a treatment plan that works best for you or your child.

At Laser Spine Institute, our procedures have earned us a patient satisfaction score of 98 and patient recommendation score of 98 out of 100.^ In the event that you suffer from degenerative scoliosis, one of our highly skilled surgeons will determine if you are a potential candidate for our scoliosis procedures based on your age, medical background and by conducting a free MRI review.* Reach out to our team today so we can help you get started on your journey to wellness.