Adult Scoliosis

At the London Orthotic Consultancy, we have treated adult patients with scoliosis ranging from the age of 30 up to 87.

Scoliosis in adults can be broadly separated into two categories; adult idiopathic scoliosis and adult degenerative scoliosis. However, a person can experience both at the same time.

Factors that can aggravate scoliosis in later life include:

  • being less mobile
  • lack of regular extension activities
  • for women, hormonal changes post-pregnancy and menopause
  • carrying heavy bags
  • underlying medical conditions including rheumatoid arthritis and osteoporosis
  • desk work/seated activities

‘Idiopathic’ describes a condition that arises spontaneously without a known cause. Adult idiopathic scoliosis is often a continuation of adolescent idiopathic scoliosis; when the spine begins to curve before or throughout teenage years. Curves can increase by 0.5° to 2° per year.

Adult scoliosis is often aggravated by ageing which naturally causes the spinal discs and joints to degenerate. Some adults will overcompensate by leaning forward to alleviate the pressure of the spine collapsing into the spinal nerves which then worsens the overall stability and equal loading of the spine. The rate of progression is between 5° and 10° per decade, or around 1% per year (which is significantly less than in children and adolescents).

Symptoms: rib hump, shoulder asymmetry, stiffness, lower back pain, pain or pins and needles in the legs caused by pressure on the nerves.


Adult Degenerative Scoliosis

Also called de novo scoliosis – or ‘new’ scoliosis – this form of the condition is actively caused by the degeneration of the spinal discs and joints and typically affects the lower back. The degeneration of the spine causes pain in the lower back and the curve to form.

Symptoms: rib hump, shoulder asymmetry, stiffness, lower back pain, pain or pins and needles in the legs caused by pressure on the nerves, loss of sagittal balance.


Adult Scoliosis Treatment

For adults, treatment concentrates on helping alleviate specific symptoms. For this, it’s important to ask what the main concern is: is it pain? Is it appearance? Is it a hip sticking out to the side or the rib hump appearance? Once it has been established which symptoms the patients want us to concentrate on, an appropriate method of treatment can be decided with the patient being offered the team’s opinion and possible outcomes for their individual case.

Exercise and postural training

Postural advice and training are the first-line treatment for adults with scoliosis. Posture is the priority as an adult’s gravity is not generally kind to the spine.



Surgical Treatment for Scoliosis

The majority of adults suffering from scoliosis will not require spinal surgery. Spinal surgery is a major procedure and carries potentially serious complications and risks. Therefore, it is normally reserved for very serious cases, i.e. if the curve is getting significantly worse affecting breathing or the nerves in the spine are being pinched under the pressure and causing serious pain.

Non-surgical bracing treatment for scoliosis 

At the London Orthotic Consultancy, we brace adults depending on what their needs are.

As adults have reached skeletal maturity – when the vertebrae are no longer malleable – an orthotic brace is not likely to straighten the spine (reduce the Cobb angle), like in adolescence.

Short-term bracing can provide:

  • an alternative to surgery
  • extra support
  • pain relief
  • improved posture
  • improved appearance of the curvature of the spine
  • prevention of progression of the curve (rather than reversing the Cobb angle)

A brace can be used to reduce posture-related pain (avoiding medication or surgery) or improve aesthetics, appearance and posture at a quicker pace. We do brace severe scoliosis in adults to prevent surgery and re-surgery due to curve progression, especially when curves are large and difficult to treat with exercises and postural advice alone.



Introducing our new slimline pectus brace

We are proud to announce the launch of our latest innovation in non-surgical treatment for pectus deformities. Our new dynamic chest compressor is one of the slimmest pectus braces on the market and is designed to reshape the chest without the need for invasive surgery.

Rosie's plagiocephaly journey

Rosie’s very severe plagiocephaly was no problem for the LOCBand Lite 3D-printed cranial remoulding helmet, going from 16mm to 2mm in just six months.

John walks again without aids thanks to Carbon Fibre Neuro Swing AFO

When John came to see us, his ankle was in a bad way. He had around 60mm of his tibia missing and not much if any talus present. He needed crutches to support him to walk. A gait analysis and a new bespoke carbon fibre knee ankle foot orthosis (KAFO) later and he is able to walk again without crutches.

Matilde’s scoliosis bracing story

Matilde travelled from Chile to LOC for bracing treatment for her adolescent idiopathic scoliosis. Now, nearly a year and a half since she started wearing her brace, she has achieved near-total correction of the curvature of her spine. This is her scoliosis bracing story.

Will's Pectus Carinatum treatment story

After only 6 months of wearing bespoke pectus braces from The London Orthotic Consultancy, Will started to notice a visible difference in his pectus carinatum.

Iulia's Scoliosis Bracing Story

After trying out several scoliosis braces in Romania, Ukraine and Turkey, Iulia begins treatment with the LOC Scoliosis Brace and is already seeing results in a matter of months. Here her mum, Raluca, describes how and why they came to LOC for her treatment.

Jack's Pectus Carinatum treatment

Through bracing treatment with the dynamic chest compressor, Jack has achieved 90% correction in his pectus carinatum after only two months. Here, mum describes Jack's non-surgical treatment journey.

Iyad's severe plagiocephaly treated in just 3 months

Baby Iyad's plagiocephaly was classed as 'severe' yet was treated in just 3 months of wearing the LOCband Lite helmet.

Pevious Next

For Plagiocephaly free photo diagnosis, please upload images in accordance with our plagiocephaly photo guide (max. 2mb each).

For Pectus, please follow our pectus photo guide (max 2mb each).