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What Are the Different Types of Scoliosis?

Boy with scoliosis

Story at-a-glance -

  • The most common form of scoliosis is adolescent idiopathic scoliosis, which affects children between 10 to 18 years old, and is found in 4 in 100 adolescents
  • Scoliosis can be classified into different types depending on a patients age group, the affected area and the direction of spinal curve

Did you know that there are different types of scoliosis that can affect patients? Some of these conditions can be seen in specific age groups, while other disorders can be differentiated by looking at the location of the curve of the patient's spine.

Scoliosis in Children and Adults

The most common form of scoliosis is adolescent idiopathic scoliosis, which affects children between 10 to 18 years old, and is found in 4 in 100 adolescents. The underlying cause of this scoliosis type is unknown.1,2

If the disease manifests in children aged 4 to 10 years old, he or she has juvenile idiopathic scoliosis. Patients with this disease make up around 10 to 15 percent of cases of idiopathic scoliosis among children. Younger boys tend to have this more compared to girls, with the curve often being left-sided.3 On the other hand, infantile idiopathic scoliosis manifests in infants, starting from birth and possibly lasting up to 3 years of age. Sixty percent of infantile idiopathic scoliosis patients are males.4

Meanwhile, adults may develop degenerative scoliosis or adult onset scoliosis. This occurs when the patient’s spine curves because of the degeneration of the facet joints and intervertebral discs that are the moving parts of the spine.5

The Area Affected Can Determine the Type of Scoliosis

Some types of scoliosis are also classified by the affected area in a person’s spine:6

  • Thoracic scoliosis: The curve is in the upper or middle part of the backbone.
  • Lumbar scoliosis: The curve is present in the lower region of the spine.
  • Thoracolumbar scoliosis: This affects vertebrae from the upper and the lower portions of the spine.

Other Types of Scoliosis

The direction of the spinal curve can also help determine the type of scoliosis affecting a patient. Dextroscoliosis is a condition where the spine curve is directed to the right, while levoconvex occurs when the spine curves to the left. If there is a combination of outward and lateral spine curvature, then the patient has kyphoscoliosis. However, if there is a curve of the vertebral column turned on its axis, this may indicate that a patient has rotoscoliosis, which is rotatory in nature. In some instances, the scoliosis itself is caused by another problem in the body:7

Functional scoliosis: Patients tend to have a normal spine, but an abnormal curve would develop due to an underlying problem. Functional scoliosis can be caused by a leg that’s shorter than the other or by muscle spasms in the back.

Neuromuscular scoliosis: A problem exists when the bones of the spine are formed. It’s either the spinal bones fail to form completely or they fail to separate from each other during fetal development. Neuromuscular scoliosis can develop in people with birth defects, muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy or Marfan syndrome (an inherited connective tissue disease).

The patient has a long C-shaped curve and weak muscles that are unable to hold up the patient straight. The curve is considered congenital if it’s already present at birth. Because of the severity of this disease, it needs more aggressive treatment compared to other types of scoliosis.


Scoliosis: Introduction

What is Scoliosis?

Types of Scoliosis

Severe Scoliosis

Scoliosis Symptoms

Dealing with Scoliosis-Related Pain

Scoliosis Causes

Scoliosis Side Effects

Scoliosis Treatment

Scoliosis Back Braces

Yoga for Scoliosis

Exercises for Scoliosis Patients

Scoliosis Surgeries

Scoliosis Prevention

Diet for Scoliosis Patients

Scoliosis FAQ

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