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Types of Scoliosis: Idiopathic, Congenital, and Neuromuscular Scoliosis Explained

Scoliosis is a condition characterized by an abnormal curvature of the spine. It affects people of all ages, from infants to adults, and can vary in severity.

While the exact cause of scoliosis is often unknown, there are three different types of scoliosis that can help healthcare professionals determine the best course of treatment:

Idiopathic Scoliosis

Idiopathic scoliosis is the most common type, accounting for about 80% of all scoliosis cases. "Idiopathic" means that the cause of the condition is unknown. It typically develops during childhood or adolescence and affects girls more frequently than boys.

Idiopathic scoliosis can be further classified into three subtypes based on the age of onset:

  • Infantile Idiopathic Scoliosis: This type of scoliosis develops in children aged 0 to 3 years. It is relatively rare and often resolves on its own as the child grows.
  • Juvenile Idiopathic Scoliosis: Juvenile idiopathic scoliosis occurs between the ages of 4 and 10. It progresses more rapidly than infantile idiopathic scoliosis and may require more aggressive treatment.
  • Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis: This is the most common type of idiopathic scoliosis, occurring in children aged 10 to 18. It typically develops during puberty and can progress as the child grows.

Congenital Scoliosis

Congenital scoliosis is present at birth and results from abnormal spinal development in the womb. It occurs when the vertebrae fail to form properly or fuse together, causing spinal curvature.

Congenital scoliosis is relatively rare and often associated with other congenital abnormalities. The severity of the condition can vary widely depending on the extent of the spinal malformation.

Neuromuscular Scoliosis

Neuromuscular scoliosis is caused by underlying neuromuscular conditions that affect the muscles and nerves responsible for supporting the spine. It can develop in individuals with conditions such as cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, spina bifida, or spinal muscular atrophy.

The spinal curvature in neuromuscular scoliosis tends to be more severe and progresses rapidly, often requiring early intervention and ongoing management.

Key Features and Considerations for Each Type

Idiopathic Scoliosis:

  • Unknown cause
  • Commonly develops during childhood or adolescence
  • More common in girls
  • Can have varying degrees of severity
  • Treatment options include observation, bracing, and, in severe cases, surgery

Congenital Scoliosis:

  • Present at birth
  • Caused by abnormal spinal development in the womb
  • Often associated with other congenital abnormalities
  • Severity varies based on the extent of malformation
  • Treatment depends on the degree of curvature and may involve bracing or surgery

Neuromuscular Scoliosis:

  • Caused by underlying neuromuscular conditions
  • Develops in individuals with conditions affecting muscles and nerves
  • Spinal curvature tends to be more severe and rapidly progressive
  • Early intervention is crucial, and treatment may involve bracing, physical therapy, and surgery

Healthcare professionals specializing in scoliosis management can assess the type, severity, and progression of the condition to develop personalized treatment plans.

Whether through observation, bracing, physical therapy, or surgery, the goal is to prevent further curvature progression, alleviate symptoms, and improve overall quality of life for individuals living with scoliosis.

To find out more information, contact Aventura Wellness and Rehab Center today at (305) 705-0777.