Scoliosis: Symptoms & Signs

Medically Reviewed on 5/8/2020

Scoliosis is an abnormal curve in the spine (backbone). There are different types of scoliosis based on the cause and age when the curve develops.

The most common symptom or sign of scoliosis is curvature of the spine. Symptoms and signs depend on the severity of the condition. Other possible associated signs and symptoms can include

Cause of scoliosis

Most cases of scoliosis have no known cause. Scoliosis is most common in females aged 9 to 15. Family history is another risk factor for the condition. Scoliosis can occur in people with other neuromuscular conditions, including muscular dystrophy and cerebral palsy.

Other scoliosis symptoms and signs

  • Bump or Abnormal Appearance of the Upper or Lower Back
  • Curvature of the Spine
  • Height Loss
  • Numbness, Weakness, and Pain in the Legs
  • Shortness of Breath
  • Tiredness
  • Trouble Walking and Standing Up Straight
  • Uneven Shoulders and/or Hips


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Jameson, J. Larry, et al. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 20th Ed. New York: McGraw-Hill Education, 2018.