There several different types and causes of scoliosis. First, scoliosis is a curvature of the spine that you can see on x-rays, when looking at the person as they face you directly, i.e. face-to-face. The amount of scoliosis is measured in degrees. Many people have mild, inconsequential scoliosis, e.g. 5-10 degrees. But some people can have scoliosis of more than 90 degrees, which can interfere with heart and lung function, and require surgical improvement.

One common type, called degenerative scoliosis, occurs when a disc degenerates and collapes, asymmetrically, such as in the x-ray you see here. This can become severe and require surgery, and I have referred many patients for this surgery. I have a mild case of this myself. This type can be treated to partially reverse it, and improve your pain and function.

The most common case of scoliosis is the type that we screen for in middle school. It is most common in girls and we don’t know what causes it. We call this idiopathic. Sometimes it stays mild. Other times it progresses severely and requires sugery as I indicated above.

Scoliosis often exists 2 or 4 times in the same spine. In other words, the curve might bend right and then left. The initial curve may be present for one of several reasons. A second curve usually develops in order to keep the person’s head over their pelvis. Imagine just one curve, e.g. to the right. The person’s head would not lie above their pelvis. So the spine then curves again in the other, compensatory, direction, to maintain the head over the pelvis.
…I can quickly tell that this description and topic is one that needs a demonstration video, so I’m going to move on to that below.

In this video I’ll discuss some types of scoliosis, secondary curves, common causes, proven treatments, theoretical treatments, and more.