Symptoms of Scoliosis

How to Recognize Spinal Deformity in Children and Adults

Peer Reviewed

Scoliosis Symptoms in Children

Child with a Doctor looking at a tabletThe symptoms of scoliosis aren't always easy to spot, and you may not notice the symptoms until you see your child jumping into the swimming pool or until the school nurse notices something in the annual screening.

Don't berate yourself for "missing" the symptoms because at a time when your child's body is changing so much, it may be difficult to notice the following symptoms as they gradually develop:

  • Whole body leaning to one side
  • Uneven shoulder height
  • One hip sticks up higher than the other (Parents often first notice possible scoliosis when they see that one pant leg is shorter than the other.)
  • Uneven rib cage
  • Rib protrusion on one side of the spine

Pay attention, too, to any symptoms your child reports such as "growing pains," fatigue, or back and/or leg pain.

Adult Scoliosis Symptoms

The symptoms listed above all apply to adult scoliosis, as well.

in particular, a rib prominence (a humpback) may be noticeable in adults with scoliosis.  You may notice that your shirts don't fit quite right.

Or you may notice, as parents sometimes do with children, that one of your pant legs is longer than the other.

Adult scoliosis can cause pain.  Particularly if you have scoliosis in your lumbar spine (lower back), pain may be pronounced. 

Updated on: 09/13/16
Continue Reading
Causes of Scoliosis
Mary Rodts, DNP
This article was reviewed by Mary Rodts, DNP, CNP, ONC, FAAN.
Continue Reading:

Causes of Scoliosis

Scoliosis causes: Read about what causes the different types of scoliosis, including adolescent idiopathic scoliosis and adult scoliosis.
Read More