Denver Patients Ask: Can You Get Scoliosis Later In Life?

An older woman sits with a chiropractor while he examines her spine for scoliosis later in life.


Scoliosis is an umbrella term for conditions that cause the spine to deteriorate into an unnatural curvature. While there are many types of scoliosis, the most common form is juvenile scoliosis, which affects children between the ages of four and 10. However, can you get scoliosis later in life? 

This article will answer that question, detailing scoliosis and the different types to be aware of. We also provide solutions for improving your spinal health so that you can age gracefully.

What Is Scoliosis?

The first step in learning how scoliosis affects the body as we age is understanding scoliosis in general. The core idea of scoliosis is commonly understood, but the condition itself is very complicated, as there are different types of scoliosis.

Scoliosis causes the spine to curve or rotate unnaturally into a C- or S-shaped deviation, developing a lateral curvature that is greater than 10 degrees. Depending on how much of the spine is twisted, scoliosis may be obvious or undetectable. In fact, more than 80% of the time, there is no obvious trigger that causes scoliosis.

While scoliosis can affect any region of the spine, it is most common in the upper spine and lower back. The following signs and symptoms are frequently present in people with scoliosis:

  • Back pain and stiffness
  • Difficulty sitting or standing for long periods
  • Leaning to one side
  • Pain that ranges from mild to severe in the hips, knees, and feet 
  • Numbness or tingling in the legs or feet 
  • Weakness in the legs and feet
  • Difficulty breathing
  • One shoulder blade being higher than the other 
  • Aches and pain in joints
  • Issues with digestion
  • Frozen shoulder syndrome

There are multiple forms of scoliosis, including:

  • Idiopathic: There is no known source of this particular type of scoliosis. It is a developmental disorder that frequently shows up in the first few years of puberty and is thought to have a genetic component. This is the most prevalent type of scoliosis.
  • Congenital: Congenital scoliosis is caused by a spinal deformity that is present at birth. The defect can even be a very minor irregularity that is missed for many years.
  • Neuromuscular: This type of scoliosis is caused by a neurological problem that weakens the muscles and ligaments encircling the spine. Neuromuscular scoliosis occurs in people with neurological diseases like spina bifida and leads to the breakdown of the spine’s curve.
  • Degenerative: This type of scoliosis, which primarily impacts adults, occurs when the spine degenerates over time as a consequence of deteriorating spinal joints and discs. As a result, the muscles in the area become weaker, and the posture of the vertebrae deteriorates.

Can You Get Scoliosis Later in Life?

Many adults may be surprised to learn that you can get scoliosis later in life. In fact, more than 30% of all cases of scoliosis are considered adult-onset scoliosis.

This is because not only can scoliosis begin to develop at any stage of life, but conditions or spinal alignment issues that were never caught or were left untreated could begin manifesting themselves as scoliosis as you age. 

This is why it’s key to understand the different types of scoliosis, as these nuances play a part in how and when scoliosis can develop. For instance, if you were born with even a slight vertebrae irregularity, it can cause your body’s weight to be unevenly distributed onto the spine. Over time, this could deteriorate your posture and lead to a scoliotic curve.

Moreover, you may have had scoliosis your entire life and never realized it or never had it properly treated. A common historical approach to scoliosis in juveniles was to “watch and wait.” This method has proven to be problematic, as we now know that the best approach to even a slight deviation in spinal curvature is to address it proactively so that the scoliotic curve does not progress.

Some types of scoliosis such as degenerative scoliosis can develop due to issues like anatomical leg length inequalities, pelvic asymmetries, poor posture, and poor ergonomics over long periods. Trauma such as sports injuries or car accidents have also been shown to be catalysts for scoliosis or can exacerbate the progression of scoliosis.

The human body naturally wears down over time, and your spine is a key component in shouldering your body’s weight, providing stability, and acting as the body’s shock absorber. This means that it is under an exceptional amount of stress. Issues with your spine’s natural curvature can rapidly deteriorate your spinal health, which can be disastrous as you age.

If you’re concerned that you may have scoliosis, free online screenings like the one from ScoliCare can be a great first step toward diagnosis and treatment. 

Chiropractic Treatment for Scoliosis

Scoliosis itself is painful and only gets worse over time without treatment. Fortunately, there are ways to combat not only the progression of scoliosis but also to prevent it from manifesting in the first place. 

Effective chiropractic care can be an excellent first line of defense against scoliosis, as it can provide you with a non-invasive treatment option and could combat spinal degeneration. 

However, each person’s scoliosis is as unique as their ideal spinal curvature is. That means that various treatments, such as those detailed below, could be used either individually or in tandem with others.

Postural Exercises Exercises for improving balance and maintaining the natural curve of the spine will strengthen the muscles around the spine.
Neuromuscular EducationThe body’s normal movement patterns are restored through this procedure, which retrains the nerve links between the brain and soft tissue.
Spinal TractionBy extending and aligning the spine, spinal traction can assist in reducing the curvature of the spine.
BracingThis can help to support the spine’s unnatural curve, which can delay the development of scoliosis. Scoliosis can be improved with a sophisticated “over-corrective” brace like ScoliBrace® because, rather than stabilizing the spine, it forces the particular spinal curvatures back to center.
Chiropractic Adjustments The issue regions of the vertebrae can be manually adjusted to improve mobility and range of motion while reducing pain, inflammation, and other unpleasant symptoms. However, it’s important to note that manual corrections will not slow or stop the development of scoliosis.

The most important step in ensuring the efficacy of chiropractic care for scoliosis is that a proper analysis of your spine is performed to understand the actual cause of your scoliosis. This better guarantees that your treatment will alleviate symptoms and, more importantly, prevent scoliosis from progressing as you age.

PostureWorks and ScoliBrace® for Effective Scoliosis Prevention

At PostureWorks, our mission is to help people like you rid themselves of back pain so that you can get back to doing the things that you love. That’s why we use cutting-edge treatment methods such as Chiropractic BioPhysics® (CBP) to develop a plan that is uniquely tailored to your needs.

The best scoliosis treatment plans begin with a thorough understanding of your spinal health. Using CBP, we accurately assess and isolate the source of your scoliosis to begin treating it with a combination of methods including postural exercise plans, neuromuscular education, spinal traction, chiropractic adjustments, and ScoliBrace® to reorient your spine’s curvature against the developing scoliotic curve. 

This way, your spine will no longer be subject to further deterioration, and your body will be trained to hold and maintain better posture. With Chiropractic BioPhysics® and ScoliBrace®, you’ll age better and enjoy the benefits of positive spinal health.

Contact us today to learn more about how you can get scoliosis later in life or to schedule your appointment with PostureWorks.

Chiropractic BioPhysics®, or CBP, is a deeply researched and results-oriented corrective care technique. CBP-trained chiropractors aim to realign the spine back to health and optimal function. As with all chiropractic care, CBP is conservative, painless, and non-invasive.

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