Scoliosis in Adults


Scoliosis is a problem with the curve in the spine. It happens when the spine makes a large curve from side to side in the shape of the letter "S" or the letter "C." If this curve is severe, it can cause pain and make breathing difficult. Most cases of scoliosis are mild.

How is scoliosis in adults treated?

Mild cases of scoliosis usually don't need treatment.

Some people may use over-the-counter medicines such as ibuprofen and naproxen to treat back pain. While these medicines may relieve symptoms of back pain for a short time, they don't heal scoliosis or back injuries. And they don't stop the pain from coming back.

Along with medicine, there are other ways to maintain or promote good health that may help relieve back pain for some adults. These include regular exercise and proper back care.

Your doctor may recommend physical therapy to help you learn:

  • Ways to move and rest that will help relieve pain.
  • Strength exercises. These can help support your joints and decrease fatigue.
  • Flexibility exercises. These include deep breathing to help expand your chest.
  • Ways to stay active without making your symptoms worse.

If the pain makes it hard to do your daily activities, your doctor may recommend surgery.

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Current as of: July 17, 2023

Author: Healthwise Staff
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All Healthwise education is reviewed by a team that includes physicians, nurses, advanced practitioners, registered dieticians, and other healthcare professionals.