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Research Review: What Is Adult Scoliosis


•Review of the paper

•Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis: natural history and long term treatment effects. Scoliosis, 1(1) •Asher, M. and Burton, D


•Scoliosis defined as a lateral curvature of the spine

•Measured in the standing coronal plane

•Utilizing the Cobb’s angle

•Spinal curves of 10 degrees or greater are found within 2.5% of the general population

•Of those people, only 0.25% require a treatment intervention

Risk factors

•Untreated adolescent idiopathic scoliosis does not increase the mortality rate, despite rare cases of curvature progressing beyond 100 degrees

•The rate of shortness of breath is not increased, unless the curvature has progressed beyond 50 degrees as a child, or 80 degrees as an adult

•Functional levels are near normal levels

•Pain prevalence is increased within the population

•Pain severity may or may not be increased

•Mental health is typically not affected

•Self image is often impacted negatively

•Social function including marriage and childbearing may be affected a greater curvature degrees


•Non operative treatment includes bracing for curvatures above 25 to 35 degrees, or 40 degrees in patients who are within 2 years of being skeletally mature

•Progression of curvature greater than 6 degrees is 20-40% more likely within operative than bracing treatments

•Operative treatment typically results in improvement of curve progression in 40% of cases


•Temporary decrease in self image in braced patients

•Operative patients have the usual risks of major surgical interventions

•20 to 28 year follow up with braced and operative patients

•Similar and significant reduction in function and increased pain compared to non-scoliotic controls


•Knowledge of adult idiopathic scoliosis natural history and progression is still incomplete and requires further research

•Patients and caregivers require the information to make informed decisions about management of the condition


Asher, M. and Burton, D. (2006). Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis: natural history and long term treatment effects. Scoliosis, 1(1).


Dr. Mike Hadbavny

Chiropractor, Sports Sciences Resident RCCSS(C)

If you are interested in learning more about how chiropractic care can be effective for your particular condition or health goals, contact Dr. Mike Hadbavny at 250-881-7881 today to make an appointment and discover the many benefits of seeing a chiropractor in Victoria, BC. Contact us today.

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