As Dr Salisbury mentioned, the majority of people with scoliosis have an unknown cause (known medically as idiopathic).
Often as we look at scoliosis in practice, we want to determine if the scoliosis is functional or structural. In the case of a functional scoliosis, we see the curvature change with specific movements. This is often more treatable that a structural scoliosis where the structure of the bones have malformed, creating the curvature.
Scoliosis is a very interesting topic in that Domenech and colleagues from the Deptartment of Orthopaedic Surgery in Valencia, Spain now suggest that "a deregulation with hemispheric asymmetry in the modulation of the motor activity controlling spine posture at (an) intracortical level could be the cause of progressive scoliotic deformity.” This means that many of the proposed etiologies of idiopathic scoliosis are neurological in origin, including brain asymmetry, neural axis deformities, and central nervous system processing errors as well integrative problems.
As we learn more about scoliosis and understand how it occurs, we will hopefully develop strategies and treatment methods to address the underlying cause of the scoliosis.
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