This can be caused either by hereditary or developmental factors (metabolic, habitual postures, lack of exercise etc). Common types of scoliosis include congenital scoliosis (it can sometimes run in families), adolescent idiopathic scoliosis, degenerative scoliosis, neuromuscular scoliosis
There are over 80 types of scoliosis and some causes are unknown (idiopathic).
Curvatures of the spine up to 40 degrees can be treated non-surgically but the condition should be arrested as soon as possible by non-surgical treatment to stop the curve from progressing.
It can be treated through spinal mobilisation, making the condition symptomless through a specific set of spinal exercises which will strengthen the underdeveloped group of muscles.
Specific exercises (all of which are carried out while lying down) will cause further growth in the musculo-skeletal system that will balance the scoliosis. The main purpose of mobilisation is to re-align the spinal column joints as much as possible and to decompress the nerve roots and soft tissues.
Scoliosis becomes worse when changing position, as stresses and strains are altered, so the tendency for people with scoliosis is to lie down for relief (body pressure on the spine is 25% of the weight when lying down on the back with knees bent).
The body pressure changes depending on the posture: sitting can produce an average pressure of 80/100 kg on the lumbar spine; standing 100-120kg; while sitting and bending forward for writing can produce 140kg.
The spine is obviously weaker with scoliosis, and the balance of spinal fluids can change considerably (causing homeostatic osmosis in the cerebrospinal fluid). This results in general fatigue, depression, exhaustion, stress, headaches, irritability and organ dysfunctions.
Mobilisation is an essential treatment for scoliosis, as this can help to open the articulations (joints) of the spine and to restore their passive mobility (movements of the joints themselves). A regular program of active muscular exercises can then be set for the patient when the passive mobility of the joints have been restored as much as possible.
Surgical treatment options for this condition always produce scar tissue which becomes semi-necrotised and tend to affect people to a higher degree than the original condition they suffered from.
Additionally, because every single muscle consists of strips of tissue material (except the heart which contains smooth muscle tissue) and every surgical incision produces local devascularisation or de-oxygenation, it can lead among other things to muscle spasms.
It can safely be said that for the vast majority of spinal conditions surgery is neither necessary nor effective, as it almost always leads to long term complications and suffering for the patient, out of all proportion to the original condition.
The use of metal rods, screws and plates and the cutting away of parts of the spine, even the heating of discs to cause them to shrink (IDET procedure) represent a rather crude approach to the treatment of spinal problems and is not a method of 'treatment' that we can ever recommend.
The procedures of Orthopaedic Medicine outlined above do not involve operating on a patient, and all treatment is safe and manageable as well as being highly effective.