Scoliosis is a condition that causes the abnormal twisting and curvature of the spine.

Patients with scoliosis will notice a change in the appearance of their chest, shoulders or hips. The most typical signs include:

  • One shoulder or hip more prominent than the other
  • One shoulder higher than the other
  • A more pronounced ribcage
  • Clothes not fitting properly
  • A tendency to lean to one side


Scoliosis does not usually cause back pain, however it can become more painful overtime as the curvature of the spine worsens.


What are the causes of scoliosis?

In most cases of scoliosis the cause is unknown (idiopathic scoliosis), however a few medical conditions, such as cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy and Marfan syndrome are known causes.

It is rare for babies to be born with scoliosis, and generally the condition will take place in later life as a result of gradual spinal degeneration or previously undiagnosed scoliosis that has worsened over time.

Scoliosis can develop at any age, but is most common in children aged ten to fifteen. It is thought that approximately 3 or 4 in every 1000 children in the UK will require treatment for scoliosis. Females are also more subject to scoliosis than males.

Scoliosis treatment

Treatment for scoliosis will depend on the patient’s age and the severity of the condition.

Often in the cases of very young children, treatment for scoliosis is not necessary as the curvature of the spine can improve naturally over time. However, in most cases (older children and adults), scoliosis will get progressively worse and will require interventional treatment.

Spinal Surgeon, and scoliosis specialist John Hutchinson will discuss all the different treatment options available to you. These include:

  • Wearing a back brace to prevent the spine from curving further
  • Surgery to insert adjustable metal rods to stabilise the spine
  • Surgery to straighten the spine using metal rods, screws, hooks wires and bone grafts (only performed after the adolescent growth spurt)