A lateral curve in the spine is called scoliosis. This can develop in a child or in an adult due to a variety of causes. In children, scoliosis can be caused by congenital malformations, neuromuscular diseases like cerebral palsy and muscular dystrophy, or tumors. In adults, scoliosis can be caused by trauma, arthritis, or degenerative disc disease. Most often, however, the cause of scoliosis is unknown and is therefore called idiopathic scoliosis.