What is Scoliosis?

Scoliosis is a medical term used to describe a sideways curve in the spine. It can occur at any age, but is most commonly diagnosed in childhood and adolescence. It affects up to 2-3% of the community, more commonly females.

Scoliosis can vary in degree, with most cases only having up to 10° of variation from what is considered “normal”, but others having upwards of 40° difference. Extreme cases may be easily visible, with the spine appearing in an ‘S’ or a ‘C’ shaped pattern.

However, despite the curve in the spine, it is only really a concern if it is causing you pain, with many people with small degrees of scoliosis living life completely healthy and unaware of the curve in their spine.  


What are the causes?

The majority of cases of scoliosis have no known cause, although its presentation may be influenced by genetic factors, congenital abnormalities or hormone problems. However, some conditions that are associated with scoliosis include: 

  • Neuromuscular diseases – for example cerebral palsy
  • Uneven leg length – a shorter leg may cause your hip to tilt. Your should may then tilt the other way to compensate, causing a curve in the spine
  • Certain diseases – such as osteoarthritis


What are the symptoms?

You can have scoliosis and be completely unaware of it, without it affecting you in any way. However, some symptoms you can present with are: 

  • Back pain or discomfort
  • Uneven shoulders or protruding shoulder blade
  • Uneven hips
  • Noticeable curve in the area affected
  • Leaning to one side
  • Head appears off-center


When should I get treatment?

Scoliosis is a completely normal variant that can occur in the body, however, if you find that it is causing you pain this is the time to seek treatment. As osteopaths we can help provide you with symptomatic relief, easing tension through associated muscles and reducing strain on the rest of your body. Depending on the degree of the curvature we will also provide exercises and strengthening work to help compensate and reduce the symptoms from your scoliosis.


If you are concerned that you may be suffering from scoliosis and that it is causing you pain, come and see us. Contact us at 9846 2800 or to book an assessment and treatment with one of our amazing osteos!