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Scoliosis Research: Treating Mild Scoliosis

More Evidence That Early Treatment for Mild Scoliosis is Beneficial

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Between 1991 and 1992 the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC) recruited over 14,000 expectant mothers in South-West England. Researchers then followed up with the children of these mothers at regular intervals. At age 15 the team identified whether or not spinal curvatures of 6 degrees or larger were present in 5299 of the adolescents. Then, at age 18, 4083 of those adolescents were given a pain questionnaire.

6 degrees curve vs 11 degree scoliosis
6 degree curve (left) and 11 degree curve (right)

The responses of 3184 participants were used in the present study and analysis indicated that 202 (6.3%) had a spinal curve of 6 degrees or greater and 125 (3.9%) had scoliosis of 10 degrees or greater with the average curve size of 11 degrees (consistent with other published studies). Of these scoliotic participants, 46.3% reported aches and pains that lasted for a day or longer, 16.3% reported back pain and 42% were more likely to report back pain than those without curves. Also, patients with scoliosis had more absences from school and were more likely to avoid activities that caused pain.

This research indicates that mild scoliosis is a significant cause of pain in adolescents. This is contrary to some earlier studies on pain and scoliosis in adolescents. According to this study, adolescents with mild scoliosis may not seek treatment outside of an initial diagnosis, but they do experience increased pain, have more days off school, and avoid certain activities as a result. This furthers the belief that early intervention and treatment for mild scoliosis is beneficial to patients.