In children and teens,
scoliosis typically does not cause symptoms and is not
obvious until the curve of the spine becomes moderate or severe. It may first become
noticeable to a parent who observes that the child's clothes do not fit right
or that hems hang unevenly. The child's spine may look crooked, or the ribs may
child's head is not centered over his or her body.
blade may stick out more than the other.
The ribs are higher on one
side when the child bends forward from the waist.
The waistline may
be flat on one side.
Most of the time scoliosis does not cause pain in children
or teens. When back pain is present with
scoliosis, it may be because the curve in the spine is causing stress and pressure on the spinal discs, nerves, muscles, ligaments, or facet joints. It is not usually caused by
the curve itself. Pain in a teen who has scoliosis may indicate another problem, such
as a bone or spinal tumor. If your child has pain associated with scoliosis, it
is very important that he or she see a doctor to find out what is causing the
Adults who have scoliosis may or may not have back pain. In
most cases where back pain is present, it is hard to know whether scoliosis is
the cause. But if scoliosis in an adult gets worse and becomes severe, it
can cause back pain and difficulty breathing.
other conditions, such as
kyphosis, cause symptoms similar to scoliosis.
In this article
This information is produced and provided by the National
Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National
Institute via the Internet web site at http://
.gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
March 12, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor.
Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this