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According to the Scoliosis Research Society idiopathic scoliosis has been defined as a lateral (side to side) curvature of the spine greater than 10 degrees as measured using the Cobb method on a standing x-ray. The curve develops due to a 3-dimensional deformity of the spine causing changes from left to right, front to back and in rotation. It is a pathology of the neuro-musculo-skeletal system which involves postural changes and growth asymmetry and is thought to be of genetic origin.

Idiopathic Scoliosis is present in 2 – 4% of the population of children between 10 – 17 years of age. It is more common in girls than boys, 8 out of 10 are young girls.Idiopathic scoliosis is classified based on the age of the patient when it is first identified.

Infantile Scoliosis - accounts for less than 1% of all cases.

Juvenile Scoliosis - accounts for 12 - 21% of all patients with idiopathic scoliosis and is first detected between the ages of 3 - 10 years of age.

Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis - account for about 80% of cases found between the ages of 10 - 17 or skeletal maturity.

Adult Idiopathic Scoliosis may also be present as a pre-existing condition or as a new condition (Denovo Degenerative Scoliosis)

Signs & Symptoms

As a parent if you want to know if your child might have scoliosis assess them for the following:

• Shoulders different heights 
• One shoulder blade is more prominent than the other 
• Head is not centered directly above the pelvis 
• Appearance of a raised, prominent hip 
• Rib cage appears different heights 
• Uneven waist 
• Leaning of entire body to one side.

Secondary Causes of Scoliosis

Inherited Disorders of Connective Tissue Neurological Disorders Musculoskeletal
Ehlers-Danlos 
Syndrome
Marfan syndrome Homocystinuria
Tethered cord syndrome
Syringomyelia
Spinal Tumor
Neurofibromatosis
Muscular dystrophy
Cerebral palsy
Poliomyelitis
Friedreich's ataxia
Familial dysautonomia (Riley-Day syndrome)
Werdnig-Hoffmann disease
Leg length discrepancy
Developmental dysplasia of the hip
Osteogenesis imper-fecta
Klippel-Feil syndrome