Scoliosis is an abnormal curve in the spine. There are several types of scoliosis based on the cause and age when the curve develops. In most cases the majority of patients have no known cause. The most common symptom of scoliosis is curvature of the spine.

Scoliosis is a disorder that causes an abnormal curve of the spine, or backbone. The spine has normal curves when looking from the side, but it should appear straight when looking from the front. Kyphosis is a curve in the spine seen from the side in which the spine is bent forward.

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There are 3 major types of Scoliosis:

  • Functional Scoliosis
  • Neuro muscular Scoliosis
  • Degenerative Scoliosis

Functional Scoliosis:

  • In this type of scoliosis, the spine is normal, but an abnormal curve develops because of a problem somewhere else in the body.
  • This could be caused by one leg being shorter than the other or by muscle spasms in the back.

Neuro Muscular Scoliosis:

  • In this type of scoliosis, there is a problem when the bones of the spine are formed. Either the bones of the spine fail to form completely or they fail to separate from each other during fetal development.
  • This type of scoliosis develops in people with other disorders, including birth defects, muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, or Marfan syndrome.
  • This type of scoliosis is often much more severe and requires more aggressive treatment than other forms of scoliosis.

Degenerative Scoliosis:

  • Unlike the other forms of scoliosis that are found in children and teens, degenerative scoliosis occurs in older adults.
  • It is caused by changes in the spine due to arthritis known as Spondylosis.
  • Weakening of the normal ligaments and other soft tissues of the spine combined with abnormal bone spurs can lead to an abnormal curvature of the spine. The spine can also be affected by osteoporosis, vertebral compression fractures, and disc degeneration.


  • One shoulder may appear higher than the other.
  • One hip may appear higher than the other.
  • The child’s head is not centered over his or her body.
  • One shoulder blade may stick out more than the other.
  • The ribs are higher on one side when the child bends forward from the waist.
  • The waistline may be flat on one side.


    If the doctor believes a patient has scoliosis, the patient could either be asked to return for an additional examination in several months to observe the changes

  • X-ray of Spine
  • CT scan
  • MRI
  • Imaging tests of Spine

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Two types of treatments:

  1. Surgical
  2. Non-Surgical

The type of treatment depends on the cause of scoliosis.
Scoliosis that is caused by another condition usually improves when the condition, such as muscle spasms or a difference in leg length, is treated.
Scoliosis that is caused by a disease or by an unknown factor is more likely than nonstructural scoliosis to need treatment.


  • This includes either routine exams by a doctor to check for any curve progression or the use of a brace to stop a spinal curve from getting worse.
  • Children typically have these checkups about every 4 to 6 months. Adults are usually checked about once each year.


  • Surgery can sometimes decrease the curve and can usually stabilize the spine so the curve does not get worse.
  • Treatment is based on the age of the person, the size of the curve, and the risk of progression.
  • Mild curves are usually checked by the doctor every 4 to 6 months until the bones stop growing, to be sure the curves aren’t getting worse.
  • Moderate curves may need to be braced until the bones stop growing, to keep the curves from getting worse.
  • Severe curves or moderate curves that are getting worse may need surgery