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Risk Factors

Scoliosis that develops in adulthood occurs more often in people aged 60 years and older. It may occur with one or more of the following:
The risk of progression of any scoliosis is related to the degree of the curve. For example, someone with a 50-degree curve is at a much higher risk of progression that someone with a 30-degree curve.


Scoliosis with mild symptoms that doesn’t limit daily activities may not require treatment. Your doctor may simply monitor you for any changes in your spine or symptoms.
Scoliosis that is causing difficult symptoms or progressing may require treatment to help relieve symptoms. Options include:


Bracing for adults may be recommended to reduce pain, but only for a short time. Wearing a brace for a long time weakens the back muscles and doesn’t help the scoliosis.


Medication may be used to decrease pain and inflammation. Medication options may include:
  • Over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • Prescription pain medications
  • Muscle relaxers
  • Injected nerve blockers


Stretching and exercise helps maintain flexibility, strength, and improves range of motion. Physical therapy may help design an exercise plan that reduces stress on your spine.


Surgery may be done to address other problems caused by the scoliosis. Surgical options may include:
Rarely, surgery may be needed to correct the curvature. It may be recommended when:
  • Other treatments fail
  • Curvature progresses
  • The spine becomes unstable
  • There is a decline in quality of life
A spinal fusion connects two or more bones of the spine with rods or metal plates. The combined bones can help to straighten out an area of the spine to relieve some pressure.


American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons

Scoliosis Research Society



Caring for Kids

Health Canada



Adult scoliosis. Sonoran Spine Center website. Available at: Accessed December 10, 2013.

Adult idiopathic scoliosis. Scoliosis Research Society website. Available at: Accessed December 9, 2013.

Chronic low back pain. Updated November 22, 2013. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: Accessed December 10, 2013.

Degenerative joint disease of the low back. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: Updated July 29, 2013. Accessed December 10, 2013.

Scoliosis in adults. Spine Universe website. Available at: Updated February 7, 2013. Accessed December 10, 2013.


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