Scoliosis is a musculoskeletal condition characterized by an abnormal lateral (sideway) curvature of the spine. This curvature can be mild or severe, and it can affect any part of the spine, although it most commonly occurs in the thoracic (chest) and lumbar (lower back) regions. Although scoliosis can affect people of any age, it is most often diagnosed during childhood and adolescence.  The severity of scoliosis is measured by the Cobb angle, which is the angle formed by the vertebrae at the apex of the curve. Scoliosis is classified based on the severity of the curve: 

  • Mild scoliosis: Elbow angle between 10 and 25 degrees. This is the most common type and often does not require treatment. 
  • Moderate scoliosis: Cobb angle between 25 and 40 degrees. Braking may be recommended in this case. 
  • Severe scoliosis: Elbow angle 40 degrees or more. This may require surgery in some cases. 

What are the Symptoms?

Scoliosis can present with a variety of symptoms, but it’s important to remember that not everyone will experience noticeable symptoms with scoliosis. In mild cases, there may be no obvious symptoms. However, some possible signs and symptoms of scoliosis may include:

Predisposing factors for scoliosis

Although the exact causes of scoliosis are not fully understood, certain factors may increase the risk: 

  • Family history: Having a close family member with scoliosis increases the risk. 
  • Gender: Women are more often diagnosed with scoliosis than men, although the causes are unclear. 
  • Timing: Scoliosis is usually diagnosed during childhood and adolescence, especially during puberty. 

What is the Diagnosis?

Medical History and Physical Examination: A detailed medical history is taken. During the physical exam, the provider assesses whether one side of the rib cage is more prominent than the other when the patient bends forward from the waist. 

What are the Treatment Options?

Observation: For mild curves (cube angle less than 25 degrees), especially in skeletally mature individuals, regular observation with periodic x-rays may be sufficient. 

Bracing: Bracing is usually the first line of treatment for moderate curves (cobb angle between 25 and 40 degrees) in growing children. The brace applies gentle pressure to the spine, with the goal of preventing further progression of the curvature. 

Surgery is usually only considered for severe curves (cubic angle of 40 degrees or more) that are progressing or causing significant health problems. Spinal fusion surgery is the most common surgical procedure. 
Spinal fusion surgery involves permanently joining two or more vertebrae together using bone grafts or metal implants. This helps prevent the development of further curvature and stabilizes the spine. Different surgical techniques are available depending on the location and severity of the curve.
Surgery is a major procedure and carries potential risks and complications. It is important to discuss all options and potential risks and benefits with a health care professional to determine if surgery is the right choice for you or your child.

Additional Considerations:

Physical therapy:
Physical therapy exercises can be beneficial for people with scoliosis, regardless of the treatment method.
These exercises can help:
  1. Improve posture and flexibility 
  2. Strengthen core muscles. 
  3. Manage pain (if present) 
  4. Maintain lung function (especially in severe cases) 

Scoliosis, especially for children and adolescents, can cause emotional distress and anxiety. It is important to seek help from family, friends, or a therapist to deal with any emotional challenges associated with the condition.

Spine - Neck

Shoulder & Elbow

Spine — Back

Wrist & Hand

Knee Pain

Ankle Pain

Foot Pain

Feeling Aches And Pains?

Book a consultation with us for a more comprehensive diagnosis and a personalised treatment plan best suited to your needs.

Spine - Neck

Shoulder & Elbow

Spine — Back

Wrist & Hand