Scoliosis in adults 5 things you didn't know about it

Scoliosis in adults: 5 things you didn’t know about it

Scoliosis in adults is a condition of the spine characterized by its lateral deviation in the shape of “S” or “C”. Although we often associate this problem with adolescence, scoliosis can also affect adults, often going unnoticed or neglected.

In this article, we’ll explore five lesser-known aspects of scoliosis in adults, highlighting the importance of awareness and management of the condition.



  1. Scoliosis doesn’t stop at adolescence
  2. Pain is not the only symptom of scoliosis in adults
  3. Early and correct diagnosis of scoliosis in adults is essential
  4. Treatment is not just limited to surgery
  5. Mindset and psychological support are important for adult scoliosis sufferers


Scoliosis doesn’t stop at adolescence

Scoliosis, although frequently associated with adolescence, is not a problem that stops at this stage of life. Contrary to common belief, many adults can develop or experience a progression of scoliosis even after adolescence. There are several reasons for this development, namely missed diagnosis in childhood, injuries, vertebral degeneration and changes associated with the aging process.

One of the main factors contributing to the persistence or onset of scoliosis in adults is missed diagnosis in childhood. Sometimes scoliosis can be underdiagnosed or even overlooked during the period of rapid growth. A child may have a slight deviation of the spine, and this problem may remain undiagnosed or uncorrected, evolving into a more pronounced scoliosis in adult life.

In addition to missed diagnosis, injuries are another important factor in the development of scoliosis in adults. Accidents, falls, or trauma experienced during life can affect the spine and contribute to the development or worsening of scoliosis. Injuries can disrupt the normal alignment of the spine and lead to deformities that progress over time.

Vertebral degeneration, a natural consequence of the aging process, can also contribute to the development of scoliosis in adults. As the intervertebral discs deteriorate and the vertebrae lose bone density, deformities and misalignments can occur in the spine. These aging-related changes may contribute to the progression of scoliosis and associated symptoms.

Aging-related changes are not limited to bone degeneration, but can also include changes in the soft tissues that support the spine. The muscles and ligaments that keep the spine stable can become weaker and less elastic, which can promote the progression of scoliosis.

Scoliosis doesn't stop at adolescence

Pain is not the only symptom of scoliosis in adults

Pain, although a predominant symptom associated with scoliosis in adults, is not the only sign of this condition. Scoliosis can have a wide range of manifestations, and understanding them can be crucial to the correct diagnosis and management of the disease.

  • Fatigue in the affected part of the spine

This is another significant symptom of scoliosis in adults. Throughout the day, people with scoliosis may experience excessive fatigue in the muscles required by the spinal deviation. This fatigue can occur as a result of the extra effort required to maintain the correct body position or to compensate for imbalances caused by the deviation of the spine.

  • Muscle weakness

It is another important aspect of scoliosis in adults. The musculature around the spine can undergo changes in structure and function due to the misalignment, leading to loss of muscle strength and tone. This can affect the person’s ability to support the spine effectively and contribute to the discomfort and deformities associated with scoliosis.

  • Posture changes

It is also a common sign of scoliosis in adults. As the spine deviates laterally, the overall body position can undergo significant changes. These changes can affect both standing and sitting positions, impacting not only the aesthetic appearance but also the functionality of the body in daily activities.

  • Dysfunctions of internal organs

These are serious consequences of severe scoliosis in adults. For example, a pronounced scoliosis can affect the ability of the lungs to expand properly, which can lead to breathing problems. Compression or displacement of internal organs from their normal position can affect their functionality and generate specific symptoms such as breathing difficulties or digestive dysfunctions.

Pain is not the only symptom of scoliosis in adults


Early and correct diagnosis of scoliosis in adults is essential

Early diagnosis of scoliosis in adults is essential for effective management of the condition. However, because symptoms can vary and scoliosis can progress slowly, many adults may not be aware of the problem. Doctors often need medical imaging, like X-rays and CT scans, to identify and assess the degree of scoliosis.

Consultation with an orthopedic specialist or physiatrist is crucial for an accurate diagnosis and establishing an appropriate treatment plan.

Early and correct diagnosis of scoliosis in adults is essential

Treatment is not just limited to surgery

Many adults dread the idea of surgery to treat scoliosis, but there are a wide range of treatment options available. Physiotherapy and personalized exercise can help relieve symptoms and strengthen the muscles of the spine.

Postural control techniques and wearing orthotic braces can also help manage scoliosis. Even in severe cases, surgery is a viable option and may be necessary to correct deformities and prevent further complications.

Mindset and psychological support are important for adult scoliosis sufferers

Scoliosis can affect not only the physical body, but also a person’s psychological well-being. It is important to recognize the psychological impact of scoliosis and provide emotional support to those affected. Adults with this disease may benefit from psychological counseling or support groups that share experiences and strategies for managing the condition.

In conclusion, scoliosis in adults is an underestimated condition, but awareness and management of it can make a significant difference in quality of life. Ongoing education, early diagnosis, and varied therapeutic options are key to a comprehensive approach to this complex spinal condition.

Treatment for Scoliosis

Treatment for Scoliosis

The treatment for Scoliosis is established depending on the type of scoliosis and the stage of the disease. So, for curves lower than 30 degrees, physiotherapy is recommended. For curves between 30 and 50 degrees, physiotherapy and orthotic treatment (wearing a corset) are indicated. For curves greater than 50 degrees, surgery is also recommended.

Scoliosis is observed during a regular consultation with a pediatrician, at a routine examination at school or if a parent or teacher notices a lateral curvature of the spine.

The diagnosis of the specialist helps to establish a treatment for the type and stage of scoliosis, as well as to exclude other possible causes of spinal deformity, such as Scheuermann’s disease, ankylosing spondylitis or juvenile disc disorder.



  1. Kinetic Therapeutic Treatment
  2. Hygienic-dietary treatment
  3. Surgical treatment
  4. Orthotic treatment


Kinetic Therapeutic Treatment

The most effective form of treatment for mild to moderate scoliosis is physical therapy. The benefits of the treatment are the following:

  • The position of the column is improved;
  • Increases column flexibility;
  • Increases muscle, abdominal and paravertebral strength;
  • It improves breathing.


To achieve the above objectives, physical therapy uses:

  • Exercises to correct posture;
  • Fixed posts;
  • Exercises for toning the abdominal muscles;
  • Exercises for toning the gluteal muscles;
  • Exercises for toning and rebalancing the muscles in the back area;
  • Exercises to improve breathing;
  • Exercises to increase respiratory muscle strength


On a case-by-case basis, physiotherapy may include:

  • Skin massage and stretching;
  • Education for a correct posture;
  • Static exercises to increase muscle tone;
  • Guided breathing exercises to change the wrong breathing pattern.


It is recommended that the physiotherapy treatment be performed only by specialists. If the doctor deems it necessary, wearing a corset may also be indicated. Also, physiotherapy can be recommended postoperatively, to help in the recovery process.


Hygienic-dietary treatment

Doctors recommend that patients with scoliosis have a normal body weight for their height, age and lifestyle. This aspect is necessary, because the excess weight can accentuate the deviations of the spine.

A healthy and balanced diet is recommended, as well as the reduction or elimination of processed foods, very sweet or containing saturated fats. The diet of a person with scoliosis should include:

  • High fiber foods – especially whole grains, nuts and seeds;
  • Fresh vegetables – ideally, you should consume at least 4-5 servings a day;
  • Fresh fruits – 3-4 servings of whole fruits a day;
  • Foods with a probiotic content – help reduce inflammation. These include yogurt, kefir and pickles;
  • Eggs and lean meat;
  • Fish – contains Omega 3 fatty acids, vitamin D, protein, zinc, iron, selenium and vitamin B complex;
  • Meat soups and broths – contain collagen and help maintain healthy bones and joints.


It is also recommended to reduce foods that cause inflammation:

  • Refined oils – for example, corn or rapeseed oil;
  • Pasteurized milk or meat products;
  • Refined carbohydrates and products with a high sugar content. This category includes white bread, some preserves, sweet cereals, packaged snacks, especially wafers, snacks and other processed sweets;
  • Saturated and trans fats – found in most fried products.


In addition to adjusting the diet, it is important that the body receives nutrients, antioxidants and compounds with anti-inflammatory role. These include vitamin D, which helps increase, develop and maintain bone density, and magnesium – many patients with scoliosis have magnesium deficiency.

It is important for the development of muscles, bones and spinal cord.


Surgical treatment

If the angle of curvature of the spine is 45-50 degrees, the doctor may recommend surgery. The operation to correct scoliosis is not simple, but requires a high degree of difficulty. Its objective is to achieve a good vertebral osteoarthritis, by associating metal instruments with perpendicular screws. If the intervention takes place early, the chances of complete healing increase.

Recovery after surgery varies from person to person. After surgery, your doctor may recommend painkillers to keep your pain under control. Physical therapy is also indicated to help the patient be able to walk again. As the person recovers, it is important to rebuild muscle strength. This aspect is taken care of by a physiotherapist. Generally, recovery lasts up to six weeks, and return to normal activities can take place in no more than six months.

Like any form of surgery, it poses a number of risks. The level of risk depends on the patient’s age, the degree of curvature, the cause of the curvature and the measures taken to correct it (by wearing a corset, physical therapy, massage, etc.).

During the operation, the surgeon monitors the functions of the spinal cord and those of the nervous structures. If there is a risk of damage, the surgeon may adjust the procedure to reduce this risk.

There is also a fairly low risk of infection, so antibiotics are recommended. Other possible risks include nerve damage, bleeding and damage to blood vessels, progression of curvature even after surgery, rupture of rods or screws, and the need for new surgery, but these are rare.


Orthotic treatment

In addition to physiotherapy and especially in cases of moderate to severe scoliosis, orthotic treatment is also indicated. Its most common form is wearing a corset. It can prevent the worsening of the scoliotic curve, but it cannot correct it. Scoliosis below 30 degrees does not require orthotic treatment, as they may be non-evolving.

The specialist may recommend wearing the corset for 8-12 hours a day or even longer (20-22 hours), depending on the type of curvature, the aggressiveness of the disease and the age of the patient. Sometimes, wearing a corset alternates with physical therapy.

In general, the corset is recommended especially for children who are still growing. The most common types of corsets are made of plastic and adapt to body shape. Often, they are invisible under clothes, and their efficiency increases with the number of hours worn. Usually, children who wear them can participate in most activities, with few restrictions.

The bodice is removed after the bones stop growing. This happens in girls, two years after the onset of menstruation, and in boys, when it is necessary to shave or when there are no changes in height.


Scoliosis: causes, symptoms, treatment

Scoliosis is a deformity of the axis of the spine in the frontal, sagittal and horizontal planes. It mainly affects children and adolescents, but can also occur in adults, sometimes due to a disease or the existence of malformations. Scoliosis is twice as common in girls as in boys. It can be observed at any age but is much more common at the age of more than 10 years. It is hereditary, so people with scoliosis are very likely to pass it on to their children, in any case, there is no correlation between the severity of scoliosis from one generation to the next.


  1. Causes
  2. Symptoms
  3. Treatment


What are the causes?

Scoliosis is a condition that leads to the curvature of the spine. It can affect any part of the spine, but especially the thoracic area (thoracic scoliosis) and the lower back (lumbar scoliosis). Most of the time, the causes of the change in the shape of the spine are not known, but doctors believe that it has to do with:

  • Some neuro-muscular disorders – these affect the muscles and nerves and include polio, muscular dystrophy and cerebral palsy;
  • Some genes – it is believed that there is at least one gene involved in the transmission of scoliosis;
  • Leg length – a person who has one leg longer than another can develop scoliosis;
  • Osteoporosis – scoliosis can occur as an effect of this disease, once bone degeneration affects other areas of the body, so the spine;
  • Incorrect posture – at the office or inappropriate wearing of the backpack.


What are the symptoms?

Often, the symptoms are noticed especially by those around. Once the spine grows, it pushes the shoulders and hips so that they can look asymmetrical. Most of the time, scoliosis does not affect movement and does not cause consistent back pain until the curvature becomes severe. Sometimes, unexplained back pain can occur because the curvature of the spine puts pressure on the spinal nerves and sometimes on the entire spinal cord. In addition to mild pain, at least at first, weakness, numbness, and pain in the lower extremities may occur. Another indication of scoliosis is the feeling of fatigue, after long periods of sitting or standing. As the spine becomes more deformed, the muscles must make an extra effort to keep the body aligned. Over time and in the absence of treatment, scoliosis progresses and puts pressure on the chest cavity, restricting the person’s ability to breathe easily and widely.  


What is the treatment?

Most adolescents who have a type of disease that does not have a clear cause are monitored at regular intervals (every 6 months). The corset The corset is the standard treatment for teenagers who have a spinal curvature between 25 and 40 degrees. The purpose is stiffening and temporary correction. Surgery Those who have a spine curve between 40 and 50 degrees should consider surgery. The doctor’s goal is to make sure that curvature does not get worse. However, the operation does not completely straighten the spine. During the procedure, metal implants are used to correct the curvature and to maintain a correct position until a bone graft is placed. Surgery for scoliosis involves joining the vertebrae, a process called spinal fusion. Many studies have shown that electrical stimulation and exercise programs cannot prevent the progression of scoliosis. However, people affected by this disease must remain active.