Recognising the Signs of Scoliosis


Abnormal curvature of the spine is usually due to a condition known as scoliosis. Scoliosis is normally a straightforward diagnosis, with an easy to distinguish ‘S’ shape to the spine instead of the typical straight line. The condition is most common in individuals over 65, but it can also come about during early childhood and adolescent years.

Brunswick Heads Physio are no strangers to scoliosis, and we’re here to help you deal with your condition in the safest and most effective way possible. In this blog post, we provide some insight into scoliosis and how it can be treated.

What is scoliosis?

You’ve no doubt heard the term scoliosis before, but you may not know what exactly it means. It’s quite simple, really – scoliosis is the abnormal curvature of the spine.

Scoliosis is more common than you might think. Research has shown that around 1 in 2 people have some form of mild scoliosis. In these cases, the condition may go unrecognised or, if diagnosed, be deemed not significant enough to warrant formal treatment.

It’s important to note that to date, there has been absolutely no correlation between the severity of someone’s scoliosis and the level of pain they may experience. The prevalence of back pain in people with scoliosis is nearly equal to the prevalence of back pain in the rest of the population. That being said, some people with scoliosis may experience back pain and stiffness and the team at Brunswick Heads Physio is here to help!

Scoliosis Age of Onset

Scoliosis is classified according to the time of onset. The four ages of onset are listed below:

  • Infantile Scoliosis – children under 2 years old with clearly defined curvature of the spine. Not always a cause for concern, the curves may correct themselves in time.
  • Juvenile Idiopathic – children aged 2-10 years with clearly visible curvature of the spine.
  • Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis – Signs of scoliosis which appear during adolescence, a greater number of females are affected than males.
  • Degenerative Scoliosis – Scoliosis which appears throughout adulthood or during the senior years. Not always possible to determine the cause, usually attributed to degenerative wear and tear.

Symptoms and Diagnosis

It’s almost impossible to determine an exact cause for scoliosis, but many medical professionals believe that genetic issues come into play. It could also be that disease or trauma played a role in skeletal development, leading to abnormal structural twisting. Diseases like osteoporosis and arthritis have also been linked to the development of scoliosis in older people. The most important thing to keep in mind is that scoliosis is often treatable, and in some cases, if caught early it may even be possible to reverse.

Symptoms may include tightness, pain, or movement restrictions.

Early diagnosis of more severe scoliosis may be important, as this will allow appropriate monitoring and treatment of the condition. It’s important to note that when we talk about severity, we mean the extent of spinal curvature, not the amount of pain. The amount of spinal curvature is measured using x-rays and a close physical examination. It is recommended that children between the ages of 11-14 undergo a thorough spine screening to identify any issues early. For adults with scoliosis who experience pain, we recommend scheduling an appointment with us at your earliest convenience.

Treatment of Scoliosis at Brunswick Heads Physio

Treatment will generally involve a mix of exercise, muscle strengthening, movement re-education, joint mobilisation, and postural assessment.

No two cases are ever the same, which is why a tailored program will be put together by your physiotherapist to best suit your condition. The goal of treatment is to help reduce pain, strengthen core/postural muscles and improve overall posture. This will help to prevent your scoliosis worsening with age, and it will also enable you to go about your daily life with confidence.

Contact Brunswick Heads Physio Today

If you have scoliosis and you are experiencing back pain, give the friendly team at Brunswick Heads Physio a call today on 0419 629 333 or make an online booking. Don’t let pain get in the way of enjoying life, start your recovery journey with us today.