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types of scoliosis

What are the types of Scoliosis

Scoliosis and building representing spineStructural Scoliosis

Structural scoliosis is irreversible with fixed rotations in the spine, and cannot be corrected by positioning or voluntary effort. This may be categorised as Idiopathic, Neuromuscular, or Osteopathic.

Idiopathic Scoliosis

Most cases of Structural scoliosis are Idiopathic. The term idiopathic refers to cases of “unknown origin”. All that is known is that it arises in what would appear to be normal, healthy children and progresses with skeletal growth.

The most common type is ‘adolescent idiopathic scoliosis’ (AIP) which develops predominantly in young girls from ages 10 to 15 or 16 when skeletal growth ends.

Other age related scoliosis: ‘Juvenile’ scoliosis, which occurs between ages 4-9 and appears more often in girls than boys; ‘Infantile’ scoliosis, which is seen between birth to age 3 and is often seen in boys.

Neuromuscular Scoliosis

Neuromuscular Scoliosis is either congenital or acquired. As the name implies this form directly affects the bodies structure from a more diagnosable and biological base and may be caused by such conditions as cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, traumatic paraplegia, to name a few.


Osteopathic Scoliosis, is caused when you are born without part of a vertebrae, or acquired through rickets, fractures, and dislocation of the spine.

Non-Structural or ‘Functional’ Scoliosis

This form of Scoliosis is possible to improve, and tends to be positional or dynamic. This however does not mean that changes to local muscles and/or bones haven’t taken place. It is that those differences and changes indirectly affect the spine.

Some examples:

True Leg Length discrepancy

This indicates an actual difference in the length of the femur and/ or tibia on either side. This alters the symmetry of the pelvis, causing it to sit higher on one side relative to the other, and as a result creates a chain reaction up the body via the spine. These changes include unwanted side bending of the spine in one or more directions, and possible further asymmetrical changes at the shoulders and head.

Functional Leg Length discrepancy

Apparent Leg length discrepancy includes factors such as rotations at the foot, knee, or pelvis that may have effects similar to True Leg Length discrepancy.

Congenital or acquired deformities in the Hips

This can cause the pelvis to sit higher on one side than the other, which can cause a compensatory curvature of the spine.

Habitual asymmetric posture

Habitual asymmetric posture, can include the well-known habit of how girls ‘sit’ in one hip when standing, hand resting on hip, one knee locked while the other bends away. This pattern while seeming an innocent ‘pose’ or ‘attitude’ of youth can actually be harbouring deeper postural concerns that may well lead to Scoliotic tendencies.

For More…

What is Scoliosis?

How is Scoli­osis assessed?

What to look for when assess­ing Scoliosis?