Pediatric Idiopathic Adolescent Scoliosis

Pediatric Idiopathic Adolescent Scoliosis



Children diagnosed with scoliosis between the ages of 10 and 19, with no known cause, have idiopathic adolescent scoliosis.  

Expanded overview

Idiopathic adolescent scoliosis is the most common type of scoliosis (when the spine is twisted or rotated to one side) and has no known cause. It is usually diagnosed during the rapid growth period associated with adolescence* (between the ages 10 and 19).


Some researchers believe that hormone imbalance, muscle imbalance and asymmetrical (uneven) growth patterns may cause scoliosis. However, there is no definitive cause. In some cases, the progression of the curvature of the spine will slow as the child reaches full adult height. In general, a curve that is greater than 60 degrees will continue to progress during adulthood and can cause serious side effects.


Most patients with idiopathic adolescent scoliosis do not have pain or other neurologic symptoms, such as weakness or breathing problems.

Some visible symptoms of idiopathic adolescent scoliosis may include:

  • Appearance of leaning to one side
  • Low back pain (rarely)
  • One hip that appears to sit higher than the other
  • One shoulder that appears to sit higher than the other
  • Ribs appearing more prominent on one side (rib hump)

*Age of adolescence as defined by the World Health Organization (WHO)

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