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At What Age Does Scoliosis Stop Progressing?

At what age does scoliosis stop progressing

Scoliosis, a lateral curvature of the spine, is a condition that affects individuals across their lifespan, presenting unique challenges at different stages of life. Dr. Andrew Strauss, a chiropractor specializing in the conservative treatment of scoliosis, sheds light on a fundamental question: At what age does scoliosis stop progressing?

Understanding Scoliosis Progression: Insights from Natural History Studies

Dr. Strauss emphasizes the significance of Natural History studies in understanding the progression of scoliosis. These studies track individuals over time, observing the course of the condition without intervention. Research on scoliosis spans continents, with prominent studies conducted in Europe, Asia, and North America.

Types of Scoliosis in Adults

Scoliosis manifests differently in adults, with two primary types: adolescent scoliosis in adults and degenerative or de novo scoliosis. Adolescent scoliosis persists into adulthood from childhood onset, while degenerative scoliosis typically emerges around 40 to 50 years of age due to arthritic changes and spinal degeneration.

Progression Patterns Across the Lifespan

Understanding the progression patterns of scoliosis is crucial for effective management. During childhood growth spurts, scoliosis can rapidly progress at rates of 10 to 20 degrees per year. However, this progression slows significantly after skeletal maturity, typically around the late teens or early twenties. From this point onward, progression rates diminish to 0.5 to one degree per year.

Factors Influencing Scoliosis Progression

Various factors influence the scoliosis progression, including genetics, skeletal maturity, and degenerative changes in the spine. Genetic predisposition plays a role, although attempts to develop predictive genetic tests have faced challenges in their applicability. Skeletal maturity indicators, such as hand maturation and the Riser sign, help clinicians assess growth patterns and anticipate progression.

Managing Scoliosis Progression in Adults

In adults, degenerative changes in the spine exacerbate scoliosis progression. Factors such as arthritis, trauma, sports injuries, and occupational strains contribute to spinal degeneration, leading to ligament laxity and postural collapse. Metabolic diseases like osteoporosis further weaken bone integrity, increasing the risk of fractures and curve progression.

The Lifelong Journey of Scoliosis Management

Contrary to common perception, scoliosis is a lifelong condition with varying progression rates at different life stages. While progression slows after skeletal maturity, it never truly stops. Dr. Strauss highlights the importance of early intervention and ongoing management to mitigate progression risks and maintain spinal health throughout life.

At What Age Does Scoliosis Stop Progressing?

Scoliosis progression is a dynamic process influenced by multiple factors, including growth dynamics, skeletal maturity, genetics, and degenerative changes. While the rate of progression slows after skeletal maturity, it remains a lifelong concern, especially in the context of degenerative changes in adulthood. Effective management requires a comprehensive understanding of these factors and proactive interventions tailored to individual needs. By addressing scoliosis early and continuously, individuals can optimize their spinal health and quality of life across the lifespan.

Also read: What is Retrolisthesis or Backward Slippage of the Vertebrae?


Dr. Strauss is the director of the Hudson Valley Scoliosis Correction Center in New York. He has been actively engaged in scoliosis treatment for the past 30 years and has authored two books on the subject, Your Child Has Scoliosis and The Truth About Adult Scoliosis

He is Vice President of the CLEAR Scoliosis Institute and a lecturer for their introductory and advanced workshops.  He is certified in scoliosis bracing and in the use of  scoliosis specific exercises.  Dr. Strauss is a graduate of the ISICO World Masters of Scoliosis.His postgraduate studies also include a Masters Degree in Acupuncture as well as training in Grostic, Pettibon, CBP, Clinical Nutrition, Chinese Herbal Medicine, Manipulation under Anesthesia, and Electrodiagnosis.

His scoliosis practice has treated patients from 25 states and 32 other foreign countries.If you have questions about childhood and adult scoliosis and how it can be successfully treated without surgery subscribe to our channel!