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Degenerative scoliosis in adults

De Novo Scoliosis

Adult scoliosis happens as the spine wears with age – we offer a range of treatments to manipulate and realign the spine

What is degenerative scoliosis?

There are two types of adult scoliosis (an unnaturally curved spine).
  • The first is existing childhood scoliosis which has worsened in adulthood due to wear and tear on the back.
  • The second is scoliosis which first appears in adulthood – usually around the age of 50 – and is the result of worn out joints and discs (de novo scoliosis).

Both types of scoliosis can cause pain but pain is more common in the second type which appears as an adult.

Need to know

  • What are the symptoms of degenerative scoliosis? icon plus

    The condition may cause pain, other symptoms include:


    • rib cage protruding on one side especially at the back
    • your hip or waist sticking out
    • difficulty standing up straight
    • pain in the back
    • pain in the legs
    • pins and needles due to nerve root pressure
  • How is degenerative scoliosis diagnosed? icon plus

    Your consultant may recommend an X-ray or MRI scan to determine where and how worn the discs and spine have become and to assess the degree of curvature.

    It may be possible to work out whether the spinal curve will get worse by using a measurement called the Risser sign. This helps the consultant work out the age of the spine and how it might look in the future.

  • Treatment options for degenerative scoliosis icon plus

    Pain-killers and physiotherapy can be an effective way to manage adult scoliosis in the first instance. Nerve root injections will also help you keep functional and relieve pain. If these methods don't work, your consultant may recommend surgery.

Our spinal consultants

We're proud to work with leading spinal experts, whose skills are matched by their integrity and compassion.
Consultant in theatres

Our locations

From complex spinal surgery to diagnostic tests and scans, we provide exceptional spinal care across our network of hospitals. With consultations and scans available at our outpatient centres and specialist clinics.

Request a spinal appointment

We're happy to help you make an appointment with one of our experienced spinal consultants. We can also make imaging and outpatient physiotherapy appointments for you.

020 7079 4344
This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.
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