Scoliosis

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Symptoms of Scoliosis

Because the severity of scoliosis can vary from person to person, the symptoms of scoliosis will vary in intensity. A curve of more than 20 degrees may require treatment (conservative or eventually operative). Common signs and symptoms include:

  • Uneven shoulder blades; sometimes one shoulder blade will stick out further than the other
  • Head off center from the pelvis, along with an uneven alignment or asymmetrical-looking spine
  • Unevenly aligned hips; one hip may be higher than the other
  • Uneven rib cage
  • Uneven waist
  • Overall leaning to one side
  • Difficulty breathing (especially in cases of severe congenital or neuromuscular scoliosis)

Mild cases of scoliosis usually go unnoticed, but if there is pain or visible symptoms, it is important to see a doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment. Pediatricians may note signs of possible scoliosis during a routine checkup. These patients are usually referred to a specialist for further evaluation.

Reviewed by Ali Baaj, M.D.
Last reviewed/last updated: August 2015