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What are the symptoms of adolescent scoliosis?

Luke Macyszyn, MD
Neurosurgery
The symptoms of adolescent scoliosis include the following:
  • Back pain: About 40 percent to 60 percent of adolescents with scoliosis complain of back pain. Frequently they are first evaluated by their school nurse or their pediatrician. The school nurse might notice a slight curvature of the spine or unevenness in the trunk when the child bends forward.
  • Pulmonary compromise: When the curve of the spine is significant, usually over 80 degrees, a child/adolescent may develop pulmonary compromise. This means that the lung on the side that the spine is bent towards does not function as well as the lung on the other side. This can have various implications, from frequent lung infections to poor exercise tolerance.
  • Shoulder/trunk asymmetry: Frequently in adolescents with scoliosis the child will have one shoulder that is higher than the other. The trunk will also be shifted in the direction of the curve. Adolescents may also exhibit pelvic obliquity, meaning that one side of the pelvis is higher than the other.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.