Idiopathic Scoliosis

There are many causes of scoliosis deformity but the most common type of scoliosis is idiopathic scoliosis (IS) which affects about 80% of all scoliosis patients. The term idiopathic literally means that the cause of the scoliosis deformity is unknown (Kleinberg 1922).

There are 4 chronological sub groups of idiopathic scoliosis as proposed by the Society on Scoliosis Orthopaedic and Rehabilitation Treatment (SOSORT). The sub groups are determined by the age at which the first scoliosis features were diagnosed:

  • Infantile idiopathic scoliosis - 0 to 3 years
  • Juvenile idiopathic scoliosis - 3 to 10 years
  • Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis - 10 to 18 years
  • Adult idiopathic scoliosis – 18 years & over

Idiopathic scoliosis (IS) can progress during periods of rapid growth in childhood and particularly in adolescence, and again later in adult life. Adolescent bracing is usually recommended to prevent further progression once the curve has progressed above a Cobb angle of 25 degrees.

The following images show the radiological characteristics evident in different patterns of idiopathic scoliosis.

Click once on an image to expand to full view; click on arrow head symbol top right corner to commence gallery slide show; or manually move from one image to another by clicking arrows on left and right of image.

Today, Scoliosis is known as a three dimensional deformity of the spine involving a forward, sideways, and rotational movement of the involved vertebrae. X-rays will show these vertebra at the centre of the major curve to be wedge shaped in appearance. Bony changes in the vertebrae indicate the scoliosis is structural; these changes, together with soft tissue imbalances cause a trunk deformity.

At this point in time there is no cure for scoliosis but it can be managed in active daily life to maintain good (symmetrical) posture and optimal health. Schroth Method of scoliosis-specific exercises are designed to help individuals better manage their scoliosis throughout their lifetime.

Schroth Method scoliosis-specific exercises, which are customized for patients based on their major idiopathic curvature type (Click here for more information), can improve the effectiveness of adolescent bracing.

Internationally recognized and widely accepted rigid asymmetrical 3D Chêneau style braces, such as the Gensingen brace™ and  RSC®) brace, are now available in Australia. This style of bracing can be very effective in preventing progression, and reducing curvatures, if applied during the adolescent growth and before skeletal maturity.