What Causes Scoliosis of the Spine?

Friday 27th March 2015

spine 2

As I said in my last blog about Richard III,
my prime motivation in writing my novel ‘The China Bird’ was to explore perceptions of beauty
In the novel, an art student, Angela sees beauty in Edward’s twisted form, after seeing him in the distance and comparing him to a thorn tree bent by the wind. Angela asks Edward to sit for her, and part of the story is told through a series of sittings that take place. As I was writing these scenes I realised that if I wanted to really understand the condition of scoliosis I would have to research the causes of it and how and why the spine twists. In a lot of cases the cause is idiopathic, in other words they do not know. I thought that the distortion occurred because the bones bent due to illness or some other cause, but this is not the case.
This is what I wrote, in a scene where Angela, the art student is painting Edward, to explain what actually happens to the skeleton:
 
From these fresh reeds, fresh green will grow into new white willow; pliable, without flesh and muscle to contort and twist it like before.
 
There are other explanations throughout the book but what I am basically saying here is that it is not in fact the bones that twist, it is the muscles that contort the bones. For example if someone has polio the muscles on one side of their body maybe weaker than on the other side, causing an imbalance and the muscles on the stronger side to pull the ribs and spine to that side.