What happens when scoliosis goes untreated?

If scoliosis goes untreated, it can cause the curvature of the spine to worsen over time, leading to more severe symptoms and potentially affecting the person’s ability to perform daily activities.


Untreated scoliosis can cause a variety of symptoms, including:


  • Back pain: Scoliosis can cause discomfort and pain in the back, particularly if the curvature is severe.


  • Nerve pain: Untreated severe scoliosis can cause a pinching of the nerves which would be felt as pain in the legs or difficulty walking long distances.


  • Difficulty breathing: In severe cases, scoliosis can cause the ribs to press against the lungs and restrict breathing.


  • Uneven shoulders or hips: Scoliosis can cause the shoulders or hips to tilt, due to the spine not being straight.


  • Posture problems: Scoliosis can cause poor posture, as the person may lean to one side to compensate for the curvature of the spine.


Advanced scoliosis can also lead to other complications such as arthritis, joint problems, and decreased mobility. Treatment for scoliosis may include physical therapy, bracing, or surgery, depending on the severity of the curvature and any associated symptoms. It is important to speak with a healthcare provider if you are concerned about scoliosis or have noticed any signs or symptoms of the condition.

Watch Dr. Gardner and Dr. Vorhies From Stanford University Discuss Patient Stories In Treating Scoliosis.