Scoliosis - Signs and Symptoms

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Describe the signs and symptoms associated with scoliosis in you or your child.

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What are the symptoms and signs of scoliosis?

The most common symptom of scoliosis is an abnormal curve of the spine. Often this is a mild change and may be first noticed by a friend or family member. The change in the curve of the spine typically occurs very slowly so it is easy to miss until it becomes more severe. It can also be found on a routine school screening examination for scoliosis. Those affected may notice that their clothes do not fit as they did previously or that pant legs are longer on one side that the other.

Scoliosis may cause the head to appear off center or one hip or shoulder to be higher than the opposite side. You may have a more obvious curve on one side of the rib cage on your back from twisting of the vertebrae and ribs. If the scoliosis is more severe, it can make it more difficult for the heart and lungs to work properly. This can cause shortness of breath and chest pain.

In most cases, scoliosis is not painful, but there are certain types of scoliosis than can cause back pain. Additionally, there are other causes of back pain, which your doctor will want to look for as well.

Return to Scoliosis

See what others are saying

Comment from: stephanie, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: August 21

I have had scoliosis since 7th grade and wore a Boston back brace until I was in 11th grade. I have had two children and experienced back labor. Its been 13 years now and my back started to hurt so much these last few weeks. I have an S curve. Lately it feels like my ribs are squishing my heart and lungs. I have numbness in the left side my face. My chest gets tight and can't breathe; it's scary. The hump on my right side looks like it has doubled in size. I have muscle spasms. I have burning on the right side of my back. I don't know what to do. I don't have insurance and can't afford to go to the doctor. I've been dealing with bad pain too long.

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Comment from: 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: February 24

I was diagnosed with scoliosis in the 70s at age 10 or 11. I didn"t have any symptoms and was diagnosed after a minor car accident. I never experienced back pain as a child. The most obvious sign was one hip was much higher than the other, making skirts look like one side was shorter than the other. I also had a hump on the side of my back where my biggest curve is. After wearing the Milwaukee brace for 3 years I had a spinal fusion. My curves were greatly reduced; one hip is still higher than the other, but it is not obvious. I still have the hump on my back, but it is much smaller and most people probably wouldn"t notice it.

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