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Can you Develop Scoliosis as an Adult?

When people think of scoliosis they mostly think of children. But can you develop scoliosis as an adult?

can you develop scoliosis as an adult

What is Scoliosis?

Humans’ spines have natural curves in then. These curves are from the front of the body toward the back, and vice versa. There are no curves from side to side. So, when you look at someone’s back, their spine should go straight up and down and not curve to the left or right .

However, some people’s spines do have curve(s) from side to side. This condition is called scoliosis.

Learn about other conditions related to abnormal curvature of the spine.

What Causes Scoliosis?

The sideways curvature seen in scoliosis patients is the result of a shift or rotation of the spine. It can be caused by a hereditary condition, an abnormality during the formation of the spine,  another condition, or an unknown cause.

Can You Develop Scoliosis As An Adult?

When scoliosis has a genetic component, or is the result of a growth abnormality, it can usually be identified at birth or in the adolescent years.

When the cause is another condition (ie: cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, spina bifida, etc.), or physical trauma to the spine, it can develop at any point in life.

Scoliosis can also develop at any time for unkonwn reasons. When the cause cannot be identified it is referred to as idiopathic scoliosis. These can account for nearly 80% of scoliosis cases.

As you can see, depending on the cause, you can develop scoliosis as an adult.

How to Live With Scoliosis As An Adult

Being diagnosed with scoliosis as an adult can be scary. But it doesn’t have to be.

The treatment for scoliosis depends on the severity of the condition. If the curvature is minor you may not have any pain and can continue live as normal. For more severe cases your doctor may recommend physical therapy or a back brace. Only in the most severe cases, and for individuals with pain that isn’t resolved with other treatment methods, will surgery be recommended.

Learn more about living with scoliosis.




  • Scoliosis – Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment  (aans.org)
*Please Note: Information on this site or any recommended sites should not be used as a diagnosis or a substitute for talking with your doctor. Always talk with your doctor about diagnosis and treatment information.
Blue Distinction Center for Spine Surgery