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If you have an irregularly curved spine, you might have scoliosis. Children are often diagnosed with this condition, but it can also develop in adulthood. Learn about the main types of scoliosis and how to recognize them.

Types of Scoliosis Based on Age and Cause

The first way to categorize scoliosis is by the age at which it develops or by what caused it.

  • Idiopathic scoliosis has no known cause. The most common type, known as adolescent idiopathic scoliosis, develops between ages 10 and 18. Juvenile cases diagnosed between ages 4 and 9, and infantile cases in children 3 years and under, are also possible.
  • Congenital scoliosis is a rare condition that develops in the womb and lingers after birth. About one in 10,000 babies have this condition. Congenital scoliosis is usually corrected with surgery.
  • Neuromuscular/myopathic scoliosis develops in wheelchair-bound individuals. It’s most common in patients with muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, and other neuromuscular conditions.
  • Degenerative scoliosis, also called adult onset scoliosis, develops later in life when the facet joints linking spinal vertebrae begin to deteriorate. An asymmetrical spine may appear slowly as a person ages, often causing no symptoms and therefore remaining undetected. Still, it’s estimated that 60 percent or more of people over age 60 have at least mild degenerative scoliosis.

Types of Scoliosis Based on Spinal Curve

You also hear doctors refer to scoliosis based on the direction and location of the irregular spinal curve. The most common ones include:

  • Thoracic scoliosis: The curve is located in the mid (thoracic) spine. This is the most common location for scoliosis to develop.
  • Lumbar scoliosis: The curve is located in the lower (lumbar) spine.
  • Thoracolumbar scoliosis: Vertebrae from both the thoracic and lumbar spinal sections are involved in the curvature.
  • Levoscoliosis: The spine curves to the left, forming a C shape. This type of curvature most often develops in the lumbar spine.
  • Dextroscoliosis: The spine curves to the right, forming a backward C shape. This is the most common type of side-to-side spinal curve. Dextroscoliosis usually forms in the thoracic spine, though a second curve in the opposite direction can also develop in the lumbar spine, creating a backward S shape. This is an example of double scoliosis.

Scoliosis diagnoses combine the location and direction of the spinal curve. For instance, lumbar levoscoliosis is a C-shaped curve that forms in the lower back, while thoracic dextroscoliosis is a backward C-shaped curve in the mid-back.

Treat Scoliosis at Effective Integrative Healthcare

Nine out of 10 people with idiopathic scoliosis never require surgery. Invasive procedures are more common when treating other types of scoliosis, but you have other options!

If your doctor has recommended pursuing spinal surgery, consider treating your scoliosis at Effective Integrative Healthcare first. An individualized chiropractic treatment plan may be just what you need to straighten your spine naturally. Contact us today in Millersville, Crofton, or Lanham, MD to learn more about our scoliosis treatment methods.