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Scoliosis Symptoms

SCOLIOSIS means curvature of the spine from a normal 'I' shape to a 'C' or 'S' shape. Normally when standing your spine forms a straight line with a gentle wave from your head down. In scoliosis the spine is curved when seen from the back and can cause a pelvis tilt, uneven shoulders, or ribs that stick out on one side. Scoliosis is more common in girls and occurs most often during the growth spurt in early teenage years.

scoliosis cartoon

Unequal pull of back muscles connected to the spine or deformity in development of one or more bones of the spine is thought responsible. Some types of scoliosis are inherited.

Scoliosis Symptoms

  • Head not centered over the pelvis.
  • One shoulder higher than the next.
  • Ribs sticking out one side of the chest.
  • Different arm lengths.
  • One hip higher than the other.
  • Different leg lengths.
  • Body tilt to one side.
  • Back soreness after activity.

scoliosis pictures and xrays

Small scoliosis curves are rarely noticeable, cause no problems, and do not need treatment. However, small curves can grow into large curves during your growing years so if you have scoliosis and are still growing, your spine should be checked by your doctor at intervals for progression until you reach adulthood when bone growth stops. At each visit the degree of curvature measured by your doctor is compared with the last. If the trend is increasing you may be required to wear a scoliosis back brace until your back stops growing as an adult. If this doesn't work and your spine is progressing rapidly then orthopedic scoliosis surgery may be required.

In females, severe lower back scoliosis can cause problems in childbirth but generally does not lower your chances of getting pregnant. When pregnant, your obstetrician will make an assessment of your pelvis to see whether your baby will be able to make it through the birth canal; if not, an elective cesarean section may be arranged.

Scoliosis can lead to backache symptoms as an adult especially if you do strenuous physical work. This is because the alteration in anatomy leads to muscular imbalance made more obvious with heavy use. Physiotherapy, massage, chiropractor and home exercise physical modalities can be very beneficial for flare ups. Worse cases may require a daily anti-inflammatory or scoliosis balance exercises.

Doctor Secrets! "One in ten people has mild scoliosis. Most will never realize it!"

MLA Citation for School Reports, Links, and Presentations:
Helpful Links:

  • Scoliosis Wiki
  • iScoliosis
  • Scoliosis Society
  • National Scoliosis Foundation
  • Scoliosis for Kids


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    Last Updated:
    April 22 2016
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