Scoliosis Symptoms

Scoliosis symptoms can range greatly from having no symptoms at all to severe debilitating pain and even affecting your breathing and heart function.

Scoliosis patients share is an abnormal curvature of the spine that may be first noticed in a school screening by a friend or family member. Change in the curvatures of the spine typically occurs very slowly and if there are two or more curves in the spine that are of the same degree the net effect of the lateral posture can be canceled out making it easy to miss until it becomes more severe. The patient may notice that their clothes do not fit as they did previously or that pant legs are longer on one side than the other.

Some of the other more obvious signs of scoliosis may be the head appearing off center or one hip or shoulder to be higher than the other. In some more obvious cases, one side of the rib cage forms a hump on the back caused by twisting of the vertebrae and ribs. In more severe cases of scoliosis, the abnormal curvatures can actually start crushing internal organs and diminishing their function. It can make it more difficult for the heart and lungs to work properly, causing shortness of breath and chest pain.

The degree of curvature does not always correlate with the level of pain. Some patients with a very severe curvature may present with no pain at all while others with relatively minor curvatures may have a lot of pain. This is due to the fact that the body has a tremendous ability to adapt (or maladapt) to problems and it isn’t until those adaptive mechanisms to the postural distortions are overwhelmed that the body destabilized and can no longer adapt.

In most adolescent cases show no scoliosis symptoms at all, but as the person ages the curvatures of scoliosis often progress and will often eventually cause back pain.

The good news is that, in most cases, the abnormal curvatures in the spine that are causing the problems not cast in stone and the postural distortions can be reshaped and improve with proper help. Yet, if left untreated these curvatures will usually also worsen over time causing and will eventually of symptoms.


The most common measurement of the severity of the scoliosis curves is called a Cobb Angle Measurement. Lines are drawn at the top and bottom of the worst curved vertebra of each curve and the resultant angle is measured.

Most Orthopedic Surgeons will say that observation instead of aggressive intervention (such treatments as bracing or surgery) is the best option for patients whose curves measure less than 25 º but who are still growing. However, new evidence is suggesting that the best time for conservative intervention to scoliosis of the spine is early on, before it progresses further, as that is when it is most correctable.

Even mild scoliosis carries a significant risk of progression (up to 22%) but once the scoliosis curvature passes 20°, the risk of progression more than triples to 68%! By stopping the progression early, you can prevent a severe health crisis later on in life.

Scoliosis Symptoms Associated With Degree’s of Curvatures

Conventional medical approaches include:

  • Watch and Wait for the Scoliosis to Worsen to the Point That Surgery is Needed
  • Hard Static Bracing
  • Surgery

There are better alternatives to these traditional medical approaches that you should investigate for your scoliosis symptoms before considering taking the standard medical route.

Scoliosis Treatment Alternatives

4 thoughts on “Scoliosis Symptoms”

  1. I was diagnosed at an early age with this disorder which was corrected before it got worse. But I’m worried that it has come back. I haven’t noticed any misalignment on my spine but I’m worried it might surface soon. I’ll certainly be more watchful of my posture now and perhaps schedule a check-up soon. Thanks for the tips!

    1. Joy,

      You are welcome. If you are concerned that your scoliosis has progressed you really should get an updated X-ray to see if it has. Early intervention is the key to success so catching it earlier, rather than later is important.

  2. Mine was left undiagnosed so now it’s advanced to where I have to have another neck back fusion an my curve stabilized all these yrs I just thought I had degenerative disc which started in my early 30’s how was it left infected til it got to this point ?

  3. I was diagnosed with scoliosis about two years ago and the doctors prescribed a Boston’s brace for me, I have been using it ever since but have not noticed any change. Instead my back and waist hurts the more

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