Last updated on March 23, 2023

What is it?

Scoliosis is an abnormal sideways curve of the spine often causing the spine to look like an “S” or “C” shape. Scoliosis often develops in infancy or early childhood. Typically, scoliosis is identified around 10-15 years old as the curve becomes prominent. Both genders can be affected, however, it is more common in females and they are eight times more likely to progress.

What Causes it?

Idiopathic – most common type of scoliosis. There is no known cause of this type.

Congenital – this is due to a defect in the formation of the bones in the spine.

Neuromuscular – muscle and nerve imbalances in your spine. This form progresses much faster than other forms of scoliosis.

Degenerative – known as adult scoliosis. This develops over time due to uneven “wear and tear” of the discs and joints in your spine.

Signs and Symptoms to Look Out For:

  • Uneven shoulders
  • Uneven hips
  • Head tilt
  • Prominent rib cage on one side
  • Loss of height
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Trouble walking
  • Back pain
  • Numbness, weakness or pain in the legs


Treatment depends on the cause, severity and progression potential of the curve. Some of the most common and most effective treatment modalities are bracing, chiropractic adjustments, muscle strengthening and retraining or surgery.


A brace is fitted and worn to stop the progression of the curve. The common braces used are the Boston brace, Wilmington brace, and Milwaukee brace.

Chiropractic Adjustments

Adjusting the spine allows the spine to move freely and stimulates the nervous system to allow for better brain-body connection and tissue adaptation and healing.

Muscle Strengthening and Retaining

Is best utilised with chiropractic adjustments. Once the spine and nervous system are functioning properly and then retaining and strengthening the muscles to allow the spine to stabilise is essential for long-term results.


If the progression of the scoliosis is severe enough surgery may be indicated. Surgery consists of pins and rods placed in the spine to straighten the spine and stop the progression.

Scoliosis is a chronic condition and isn’t a quick fix. However, early detection is key to stopping the progression and limiting the impact it may have on your or your child’s life. If you’re concerned about scoliosis – book in to see one of our chiropractors today for a comprehensive spine and nervous system evaluation.

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