Scoliosis: Overview, Symptoms, Causes, Types, Exercises, Treatment and Management

2Subtypes of scoliosis 

Subtypes of scoliosis

The following are the subtypes of structural and non-structural scoliosis.

  • Congenital scoliosis

Congenital scoliosis is a type of structural scoliosis and is fairly rare; it results from spinal abnormalities before a baby’s birth. During fetal development, malformation of the vertebrae can occur, causing congenital scoliosis. Other causes for congenital scoliosis include the abnormal formation of the bone or the absence of specific bone in the spinal area. This type is associated with the formation of sideways curvature of the spine. The child might even develop additional curves. Congenital scoliosis is one of the most severe forms of scoliosis, and due to spinal defects at birth, this form is diagnosed much earlier than other forms of scoliosis.  Uneven waistline, tilted shoulders, and prominent ribs on one side are some of the common symptoms of congenital scoliosis. X-rays, MRI, and CT scans help to diagnose the condition.

  • Early-onset scoliosis

If scoliosis is present in a person before age 10, it will be referred to as early-onset scoliosis. But if scoliosis is diagnosed during adolescence, then it will be called adolescent scoliosis. It is mandatory to know the difference between adolescent and early onset scoliosis because, as in adolescence scoliosis, the children have accomplished their spinal growth while children under ten are still growing. Early-onset scoliosis can affect many organs other than the spine due to the development of various organs; it can affect lung development and can also lead to deformed ribs. In the majority of the cases, children with onset scoliosis do not show any kind of symptoms, especially if the condition is not severe. Therefore, it is very important to pay attention to the symmetry of the affected child.  Some of the common symptoms of early-onset scoliosis include uneven shoulders, the waist’s asymmetric contour, tilted head, and uneven hips. This form of scoliosis requires proper treatment, especially if the child is still developing to prevent severe damages not occur. If the child is not treated, then many heart and lung problems can arise, which will lead to an increase in the chance of death due to heart disease or lung failure.

  • Degenerative scoliosis

This form is also known as late or adult-onset scoliosis and is characterized by a sideways curvature of the spine. Unlike young children, this type occurs with age due to uneven degeneration of the spinal discs and joints. This uneven degeneration causes spinal curvature to be more prominent and being visible on one side. This type normally develops In the limber spine or the lower back. If the curvature exceeds 10 degrees from the natural form, it is called scoliosis. Many forms of scoliosis are painless, but this form can be painful. Stiffness in the lower back and radiating pain spreading through the legs are common symptoms of degenerative scoliosis.  This type is most commonly observed in aged people above 50 and can be diagnosed through x-ray and physical examination. People with scoliosis usually complain about muscle fatigue and back pain. With the progression of the disease, the individual can develop a loss of balance with poor posture. The treatment for this type is surgery, but any complication can arise during surgery due to overage.

  • Neuromuscular scoliosis

This type of scoliosis develops due to multiple reasons that cause spinal disorders, along with muscle and brain problems. It typically occurs due to poor alignment of nerves and muscles to balancing the spine and trunk. This type progresses with age, and the condition can become extremely severe. People are unconfined to wheelchairs and can never walk; they also feel trouble sitting upright and have a tendency to clump one side.  Although this form of scoliosis does not cause any pain, spinal curvature becomes very noticeable. Diagnosis of neuromuscular scoliosis can be done through full spinal x-rays, showing a long “C” shaped curvature.

  • Syndromic scoliosis

As a result, this form develops any other syndromes; the most common syndromes linked with this type include Rett’s syndrome, muscular dystrophy, and Beale’s syndrome. The symptoms of this disease are variable due to linkage with numerous disorders. This type is painless, but some discomfort of pain can be observed if the condition becomes severe. This type can be diagnosed at an early stage due to its common connection with other disorders.

  • Scheuermann’s kyphosis

If scoliosis is independently defined, then it is an abnormal curvature of the spine when observed from the front, while kyphosis makes the spine rounded forward. This type affects the lower spine and the thoracic spine. There are three types of kyphosis, and Scheuermann’s kyphosis is one of them. It develops in connection with some structural deformities in the vertebrae. Back pain, poor posture, muscle fatigue, and stiffness in the back are some of the common symptoms observed in this type. However, this type does not progress continually, and therefore the symptoms remain consistent, and the condition does not worsen.

  • Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis

It is one of the most common scoliosis types, and 4 out of every 100 children between the age of 10 to 18 get affected by it. By now, the original cause of this type has not been identified. There are numerous studies conducted to understand the real cause of adolescent idiopathic scoliosis, and the theories range from asymmetric growth to hormonal imbalance. Also, 30% of the patients with this type have a family history of scoliosis, suggesting that this type can have a genetic link. In this type, the patients do not experience any pain or any neurologic abnormality. The patients suffering from this type may even look normal if viewed from the side. However, when symptoms develop, they can result in the form of uneven shoulders and rib hump.  In some cases, the curve progression continues slowly while, in some, it may stop.