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Common Risk Factors for Scoliosis

Common Risk Factors for Scoliosis

Scoliosis impacts six to nine million Americans, but thankfully, scoliosis is easily diagnosed and treated. Treatments, which range from conservative braces to minimally invasive surgery, are available here at Spine Group Beverly Hills. 

Because early intervention can help prevent the spinal curvature from progressing, Dr. John Regan wants you to know the common risk factors for scoliosis to ensure that your child receives the appropriate screenings for scoliosis during childhood.

Three common risk factors for idiopathic scoliosis 

Risk factors for developing idiopathic adolescent scoliosis (the most common type of scoliosis that accounts for 80% of all cases) include:

1. Age

Symptoms of scoliosis often begin during puberty, often between the age of 10 and 18. You might notice your child’s hips are uneven or his/her backpack straps slide off one shoulder easily. You might also notice your child’s ribs are uneven. 

2. Sex

Both boys and girls can develop signs of scoliosis during puberty, but the condition affects more girls than boys. Girls are also more likely to require treatment, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

3. Family history of scoliosis 

Scoliosis can run in families, but most children with scoliosis don't have a relative with the condition. That being said, having a parent or sibling with scoliosis increases a person’s chances of having scoliosis too. 

Common risk factors for congenital scoliosis

Congenital scoliosis results in a spinal curvature that is present at birth. Risk factors for congenital scoliosis include maternal environmental factors or things that a pregnant woman experienced or was exposed to during pregnancy. 

Research indicates that 19% of mothers who had a baby born with congenital scoliosis had at least one of the following environmental factors: hyperthermia while pregnant, twin gestation, insulin-dependent diabetes. Alcohol usage and smoking were also listed as risk factors in the study.

Common risk factors for neuromuscular scoliosis

Neuromuscular scoliosis is a type of scoliosis that develops as a result of neurological or muscular disease. It makes sense, then, that having a neurological or muscular disease is a risk factor for neuromuscular scoliosis. Examples of neurological or muscular diseases that can lead to secondary scoliosis include:

Spinal cord trauma is also a risk factor for neuromuscular scoliosis. Unlike the first two types of scoliosis, neuromuscular scoliosis tends to progress more rapidly and more often requires surgical intervention.


Just because you have some of these risk factors doesn’t mean that you’re destined to have scoliosis, and just because you don’t have these risk factors doesn’t mean you won't have it either. Risk factors provide knowledge so that you can be aware of the things that may increase your risk of developing the condition so that you can receive care quickly should you spot the first signs or symptoms of scoliosis. Treatments, including braces and adjustable spinal rods, can reduce complications of untreated scoliosis and reduce spinal curvature.

Scoliosis is easily diagnosed through diagnostic imaging and a physical exam. If you are concerned about your spine or your child’s spine, call or schedule an appointment at our Beverly Hills or Santa Monica, California office today.

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