Scoliosis is an abnormal curvature of the spine to one side. The curve can bend to either side and can happen at any point along the spine. The curvature can also vary in severity and the chest and lower back are most commonly affected. In some cases the curve is so mild that you suffer no problems from it. In more severe cases of scoliosis it can cause pain in the whole of the spine,



There are different forms of scoliosis depending on different factors. It is easiest to put them into two main categories. The most common is functional scoliosis which cannot be distinguished when one Skolios är ett tillstånd då ryggraden är vriden i sidledlies down or sits but returns when one is standing. The other and more serious type of scoliosis is structural scoliosis which does not disappear when one sits or lies. Besides these two categories there is also an incidental form of scoliosis, antalgic (pain) scoliosis, which occurs due to severe muscular tightness and spasms which is commonly associated with disc problems or acute low back pain.

Functional scoliosis is often caused by one leg being longer than the other or the pelvis being rotated. It is a milder form of spinal curve and often not more than 15 degrees. With the help of x-rays the spinal curve can be measured using specific methods (Cobb-Lippman method). A curve of 10 degrees is considered mild, 20 degrees moderate and 30 degrees is severe.

A structural scoliosis is the most common form of lateral spinal bending and in approximately 80% of cases a cause is unknown, this is termed idiopathic scoliosis. The age of onset allows for an age-based classification:

  • Infantile: from birth and 3 years of age
  • Juvenile: from 3 years to 10 years of age
  • Adolescent: from 10 years to skeletal maturity

The incidental form of scoliosis, antalgic scoliosis, can lead to a permanent scoliosis if the muscle tightness which causes it is not treated in time. Muscular tightness which occurs due to pain from for example acute low back pain or disc problems can cause the spine to move out of position so that the vertebrae take on a different alignment.

"scoliosis is genetic and if you have a scoliosis your child is 30% more likely to develop one"

 What can a chiropractor do?
A chiropractor can help the spinal joints move and function better which can help the overall flexibility of the spine which has a scoliosis. A chiropractor can also treat the neck which will help the overall balance of the spine. If the rotation or twist in the pelvis is the cause of the problem then a chiropractor can also correct the function of this.   


Often scoliosis is genetic and if you have a scoliosis your child is 30% more likely to develop one. It is possible that if the child with scoliosis is treated early one can help slow down the advancing curve in the spine. Children who complain of back or spine pain could have a scoliosis. It is therefore important that you listen and allow a chiropractor to assess the problem and not dismiss it as ‘growing pains’. Even if you are an adult with scoliosis chiropractic can still be a help.