Understanding Neuromuscular Scoliosis: Causes and Treatment

Underlying neurological diseases that weaken the muscles, like cerebral palsy, are the cause of neuromuscular scoliosis. Surgery, physical therapy, and bracing are possible forms of treatment.

An abnormal curve in the spine is called scoliosis. One of the three main forms of scoliosis is neuromuscular scoliosis. The other two are congenital scoliosis and idiopathic scoliosis.

Disorders affecting the muscles and nerves can cause neuromuscular scoliosis. Muscles that are weak, rigid, or spastic are unable to provide the necessary support for the spine. Curvature may result from this.

Neuromuscular scoliosis may be treated with bracing, physical therapy, or surgery, depending on the severity and underlying disease.

What causes neuromuscular scoliosis and who’s at risk?

Spina bifida and cerebral palsy are two neurological disorders that impact the nerves and muscles and are the cause of neuromuscular scoliosis.

Neuromuscular scoliosis does not always develop in people with neurological conditions. Those who do may develop worsening symptoms over time. Neuromuscular scoliosis is characterised by a visible curvature of the spine, back pain, gait abnormalities, and problems with posture and balance. Breathing problems are one of the possible repercussions if the illness worsens or advances.

Neuromuscular scoliosis usually affects those with walking disabilities more severely. Growth spurts in childhood and adolescence can make it worse. During these periods, symptoms may be more apparent.

What’s the difference between idiopathic and neuromuscular scoliosis?

  • The two main forms of scoliosis that affect children and teenagers are idiopathic and neuromuscular.
  • Scoliosis that has no recognised cause is called idiopathic scoliosis. This indicates that it doesn't arise from underlying issues and instead develops on its own.
  • An underlying neuromuscular problem is the cause of neuromuscular scoliosis. The curvature of a person's spine resulting from neuromuscular scoliosis is a consequence of another disorder.

What neuromuscular disorders are associated with scoliosis?

There are several conditions associated with scoliosis. While certain medical disorders increase a child's risk of developing scoliosis, scoliosis is not usually caused by medical conditions.

The following neurological disorders are connected to scoliosis:
  • Cerebral palsy: Muscle weakness and a loss of control are symptoms of cerebral palsy. Children suffering from cerebral palsy may experience difficulties with balance, jerky movements, and difficulty walking on their own. Scoliosis can also be caused by weak muscles and a lack of control, which can lead to inadequate spine support.
  • Spina bifida: A disorder known as spina bifida is caused by improper development of the spine and spinal cord in the womb, which exposes nerves. A curvature may arise if the spinal cord and column are not fully developed.
  • Muscular dystrophy: A collection of illnesses together referred to as muscular dystrophy result in skeletal muscle weakening that worsens over time. Scoliosis can occur if the muscles surrounding the spine are not supported.
  • Friedreich’s ataxia: An uncommon hereditary disorder called Friedreich's ataxia results in increasing nerve degeneration as a person ages. It results in weakened muscles and inadequate spinal support.
  • Spinal cord injuries: Damage to the nerves resulting from spinal cord injuries can cause paralysis and eventually deformity.
  • Tumours: Tumours of the spinal cord may push on nerves, resulting in impairment, flexion, and deformity.

How is neuromuscular scoliosis treated?

Neuromuscular scoliosis has no known cure, however, medication can help keep the curvature from getting worse. Furthermore, it has the potential to mitigate symptoms like discomfort and lower the likelihood of consequences like breathing issues.

The degree and underlying cause of neuromuscular scoliosis determine the course of treatment. Choices consist of:
  • Bracing: Bracing can stabilise the spine and stop the curvature from getting worse as a kid grows.
  • Adaptive tools and aids: People with neuromuscular scoliosis frequently find benefit from adaptive devices, such as wheelchair modifications and other routine aids.
  • Physical therapy: Strength, balance, and stability are just a few of the things that physical therapy may help with.
  • Surgery: An alternative for those with neuromuscular scoliosis is spinal fusion surgery. To straighten and stabilise the spine and rectify the curvature, this operation uses metal rods and other specialised instruments.
Although it is not a cure for scoliosis, spinal fusion surgery frequently yields positive results and can enhance the quality of life for those who have it in children or adults. Although surgery can stabilise the spine and stop the curvature from getting worse, it cannot straighten the spine entirely.


One kind of scoliosis that arises from an underlying neurological disorder that affects the muscles and nerves is called neuromuscular scoliosis. It happens when the nerves that control muscle control or the muscles supporting the spine are weakened by the underlying disease. Spinal curvature may result from the surrounding muscles' inability to support the spine.

Neuromuscular scoliosis may be treated with physical therapy, bracing, or surgery, depending on the severity and underlying disease.

While there is no known cure for neuromuscular scoliosis, treatment can help control symptoms, avoid complications, and slow the progression of spine curvature.


What are the causes and treatment of scoliosis?

the cause is usually unknown

Can neuromuscular scoliosis be cured?

Neuromuscular scoliosis is often treated by fusing a greater segment of the spine.

Can you fully cure scoliosis?

Scoliosis is a condition that can't be cured

Is Walking Good for Scoliosis?

Walking is a safe and healthy form of exercise for people with scoliosis

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