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Scoliosis (Adult)

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Symptoms of Scoliosis and Adult Spine Deformity

The symptoms of scoliosis vary and are related to the degree of the curve, the complications it causes, and the location where the curve has developed, among other factors.

The most common symptoms of adult scoliosis are back pain and pain down the legs. Other symptoms:

  • Inability to stand up straight/person appears to lean to one side
  • Inability to stand upright
  • Individuals may notice their clothing fits differently or doesn’t hang straight
  • Lumbar stenosis, in which nerves at the lumbar level are compressed, leading to leg pain and possibly weakness
  • Odd alignment of shoulder blades; sometimes one shoulder blade will be higher or stick out farther than the other
  • Pain in the legs, pins and needles, or difficulty walking due to compression of nerves
  • Unevenly aligned hips; one hip may be higher than the other or stick out farther
  • Visible difference in where the arms hang beside the body
  • Visible hump or prominence on the back near the ribs or waist once curve reaches 30 to 40 degrees


Reviewed by: Kai-Ming Fu, MD, PhD
Last reviewed/last updated: August 2021