Since I am a licensed Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, I will stay within my credentials and only discuss adult-aged scoliosis. Note: Scoliosis can be congenital (occur during the fetal stages) and appear during early child development.

Scoliosis is the curving, and occasionally the rotation (twisting), of the spine. It can arise anywhere in the spine or strike the total length. It is usually detected at a young age; however, it can be diagnosed during a physical exam of the spine or seen on an X-ray, MRI, or CT in adulthood. It is the result of several causes: neuromuscular (cerebral palsy, poliomyelitis, and muscular dystrophy), congenital, genetics, osteoporosis, poor posture, injuries to the spine, and Marfan Syndrome. Scoliosis can be mild, moderate, and severe depending on the degrees of either the S-shaped or C-shaped curves.


People living with scoliosis may experience increased chronic spinal (bone) and neuropathic (nerve) pain related to degenerative disc disease that is caused by the curving of the spine. It can be a very debilitating condition. People may have problems breathing because of reduced area in the chest for lung expansion (this happens if scoliosis is in the thoracic spine) and difficulty performing standard activities of daily living such as walking. Scoliosis is noticeable when clothing doesn’t hang on the body properly. It causes uneven shoulders, hips, and legs (one leg may be longer than the other); leaning to one side; muscle spasms; numbness; and generalized weakness.

Healthcare providers become concerned when the curvature of the spine becomes twenty degrees or greater because the disease destroys the structural integrity of the spine or can change normal mechanics. Neurosurgeon consults to discuss the possibility of surgery to restore proper spinal alignment (spinal reconstruction that requires rods and screws) may be required for patients whose curvature is forty degrees or greater. The treatment plan depends on the symptoms and severity.


John Hopkins Medicine. (2019).  Retrieved from

VectorMine. (2019). Medical anatomical vector illustration diagram with spine curvatures compared with healthy back bone