Neuromuscular scoliosis

Neuromuscular scoliosis is a curvature of the spine caused by a neurological or muscular condition. Neurological conditions affect the body’s nervous system. Examples are cerebral palsy and spina bifida. Not all people with a neurological condition will develop scoliosis.

Neurological conditions happen when there is damage to the brain or nerves caused by illness or injury. They can affect the muscle-nerve pathways of the body from the brain down to the spinal cord

Muscular conditions such as Duchenne muscular dystrophy or spinal muscular atrophy stop the muscles from working. When the muscles do not work, scoliosis can develop.

Patients with these conditions often develop scoliosis or kyphosis, or both. As they grow and their trunk muscles get weaker, the spine gradually begins to collapse, which creates a long, C-shaped collapsing scoliosis.

These curves are often progressive. Progressive means they continue to get bigger. The rate of progression increases during rapid growth, so these curves worsen during growth spurts, such as puberty. 

For children who use a wheelchair, progressive curves can make it difficult for them to sit comfortably. Large curves (measuring 80o or above) in the upper or middle parts of the spine may cause lung problems.

For further information about neuromuscular scoliosis, including causes, diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis:

Neuromuscular Scoliosis Information

Neuromuscular Backbone article

Neuromuscular scoliosis FAQs section

personal accounts

  • You may also find the video on postural care on the Mencap website useful for information on protecting and restoring body shape.

If you would like to talk further about any aspect of scoliosis, SAUK is here to help; please call our helpline or contact us via post or e-mail.

Available in large print on request

Share this page