Neuromuscular scoliosis may result from a variety of causes, including:
- A traumatic spine injury
- Neurological or muscle disorders
- Cerebral palsy
- A traumatic brain injury
- Poliomyelitis (Polio)
- Myelomeningocoele (a defect of the central nervous system)
- Spinal muscle dystrophy
- Spinal cord injuries
- Myopathies (muscle damage)
These patients frequently have significant complications, including an increased risk for skin ulcers, lung problems, and significant pain.
Causes of Degenerative Lumbar Scoliosis in Adults
Adult scoliosis has two primary causes:
- Progression of childhood scoliosis.
- Degenerative lumbar scoliosis. Degenerative lumbar scoliosis is a condition that typically develops after age 50. With this condition, the lower spine is affected, usually due to disk degeneration. Osteoporosis, a serious problem in many older adults, is not a risk factor for new-onset scoliosis, but it can be a contributing factor. In most cases, however, it is not known why scoliosis occurs in adults.
Conditions That Affect the Spinal Column and Surrounding Muscles
Scoliosis may be a result of various conditions that affect bones and muscles associated with the spinal column. They include the following:
- Tumors, growths, or other small abnormalities on the spinal column. These spinal abnormalities may play a larger role in causing some cases of scoliosis than previously thought. For example, syringomyelia, a disorder in which cysts form along the spine, can cause scoliosis.
- Stress fractures and hormonal abnormalities that affect bone growth in young, competitive athletes.
- Turner syndrome, a genetic disease in females that affects physical and reproductive development.
- Other diseases that can cause scoliosis are Marfan syndrome, Aicardi syndrome, Friedreich ataxia, Albers-Schonberg disease, rheumatoid arthritis, Cushing syndrome, and osteogenesis imperfecta.
Review Date: 04/06/2010
Reviewed By: Harvey Simon, MD, Editor-in-Chief, Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Physician, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.