Possible complications of scoliosis 

Physical complications of scoliosis are rare, although serious problems can develop if it's left untreated.

Emotional issues

Having a visibly curved spine or wearing a back brace may cause problems related to body image, self-esteem and overall quality of life. This is particularly the case for children and teenagers with scoliosis.

Modern back braces are designed to be difficult to see under loose-fitting clothing, but your child may still worry that they look different or unusual.

Encouraging your child to talk with other teenagers who have scoliosis can help improve their confidence and lessen any feelings they are alone with their condition.

There are several support groups, such as the Scoliosis Association UK, that provide information and support for people with scoliosis. Some also host message boards so teenagers from across the world can compare experiences, share tips and exchange messages of encouragement.

Lung and heart problems

In particularly severe cases of scoliosis the ribcage can be pushed against the heart and lungs, causing breathing problems and making it difficult for the heart to pump blood around the body.

This can also increase the chances of lung infections, such as pneumonia, and lead to problems such as heart failure.

Nerve compression

In some cases of scoliosis, particularly those affecting adults, the bones in the spine compress nearby nerves. In severe cases, this can cause problems such as:


Page last reviewed: 29/01/2015

Next review due: 29/01/2017