Idiopathic Cause of Back Pain

When a person has an idiopathic cause of back pain, it means that the cause of the patient's back pain can't be determined.

Idiopathic cause of back pain. When a condition is described as idiopathic it means that the cause of symptoms never becomes known. Back pain is either a symptom of disease or the symptom of injury. There are several reasons why it is so difficult to find the cause of back pain and subsequently treat it.
  1. Though the cause of back pain may be due to soft tissue injury, there is no definitive tests to detect micro-tears in the soft tissues.
  2. Often, a person with back pain presents on medical images with degenerative changes to the spine that presents in several places. It may be difficult to determine which portion of the spine is causing the patient's symptoms.
Scoliosis: Scoliosis is the abnormal lateral curvature of the spine that that may be present at birth because of a congenital condition, problems during fetal development, early childhood and adolescent development, and degenerative spinal conditions later in life. As you can see, there are many possible causes of scoliosis, though most conditions typically develop during childhood, and the cause never becomes known. Idiopathic scoliosis is scoliosis of no known cause. Idiopathic scoliosis is the most common type of scoliosis.



Scoliosis is defined by the medical condition that causes the abnormal curvature and the age of onset. Scoliosis is also defined by the shape and angle of the curvature. When assessing the shape of the spine doctors often look at front to back X-rays of patients standing with the front of their body in contact with the image receptor, and their backs to the X-Ray tube. When the X-ray projection is taken, the beam passes through the patient, entering the body through the back of the patient, exiting through the front, and contacting the image receptor. The image receptor then produced an image of the bones and soft tissues of the spine. In a normal X-Ray, the spine would be perfectly straight from top to bottom. It would be lateral views of the spine that show the normal cervical, thoracic, and lumbar curvatures. In X-Ray images of the spine that indicate scoliosis, the spine would have one or two major sideways curvatures. The precise name given for this condition depends on how many curves present on the X-Ray and their direction. Here are three ways to identify and define the possible types of curvatures:
  • The spine has a single curve that bends to the right, and looks like a backwards C on the X-Ray. This pattern is called dextroscoliosis.
  • The spine has a single curve that bends to the left. This pattern is called levoscoliosis.
  • The spine is shaped like the letter S. This happens when the spine has two curves.
Scoliosis may be present at birth do complications during fetal development or a congenital disease. Or scoliosis may occur while a person is growing up, or present later in life due to age related degenerative to the spine. In some cases, an injury or disease condition indicated the cause of scoliosis, though in most cases we never learn the reason. Idiopathic scoliosis is scoliosis of no known cause.

About 2% of the entire population has idiopathic scoliosis. Idiopathic scoliosis is the most common type of scoliosis that occurs in children. This asymmetry of the spine is noted by doctors when the condition becomes apparent, but often doesn't require medical intervention if it doesn't cause back pain or respiratory distress. When the curvature progresses, or when it dies cause symptoms, doctors may want to treat it before it begins affecting the patient.