Etiological Theories of Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis: Past and Present

Maja Fadzan1, *, Josette Bettany-Saltikov2
1 Scoliosis 3DC, 3 Baldwin Green Common, Suite 204, Woburn, MA 01801, USA
2 Teesside University, Institute of Health and Social Care, Middlesbrough TS1 3BA, UK

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© 2017 Fadzan and Bettany-Saltikov.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at Scoliosis 3DC, 3 Baldwin Green Common, Suite 204, Woburn, MA 01801, USA, Tel: 781-938-8558; Fax: 7819339934; E-mails:;


Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis is one of the most common spinal deformities, yet its cause is unknown. Various theories look to biomechanical, neuromuscular, genetic, and environmental origins, yet our understanding of scoliosis etiology is still limited. Determining the cause of a disease is crucial to developing the most effective treatment. Associations made with scoliosis do not necessarily point to causality, and it is difficult to determine whether said associations are primary (playing a role in development) or secondary (develop as a result of scoliosis). Scoliosis is a complex condition with highly variable expression, even among family members, and likely has many causes. These causes could be similar among homogenous groups of AIS patients, or they could be individual. Here, we review the most prevalent theories of scoliosis etiology and recent trends in research.

Keywords: Scoliosis, Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis, Etiology, Pathogenesis, Spinal, Neuromuscular.