Degenerative scoliosis in adults

Also known as de novo scoliosis, adult scoliosis happens as the spine wears with age - we offer a range of treatments to manipulate and realign the spine.

Spinal and peripheral nerve

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

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

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.

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 Degenerative scoliosis in adults locations

Institute of Sport Exercise and Health (ISEH)

Institute of Sport Exercise and Health (ISEH)

170 Tottenham Court Road W1T 7HA London
The Harley Street Clinic

The Harley Street Clinic

35 Weymouth Street W1G 8BJ London
The Portland Hospital

The Portland Hospital

205-209 Great Portland Street W1W 5AH London
The Princess Grace Hospital

The Princess Grace Hospital

42-52 Nottingham Place W1U 5NY London
The Lister Hospital

The Lister Hospital

Chelsea Bridge Road, SW1W 8RH London
The Shard Outpatients

The Shard Outpatients

The Shard, 32 St Thomas Street SE1 9BS London

Patient stories

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