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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
Marfan syndrome Homocystinuria
Tethered cord syndrome
Spinal Tumor
Muscular dystrophy
Cerebral palsy
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