What is Scoliosis

By Sally Ann Quirke, Chartered Physiotherapist | Filed under: Scoliosis


Symptoms and Types of Scoliosis.

What is Scoliosis

Scoliosis is a condition that close to my heart. I was diagnosed with scoliosis 10 years ago and have fully corrected my scoliosis now, using scoliosis exercise therapy alone.

So, what is scoliosis anyway?

Basically, Scoliosis is a curve in the spine that should not be there! If you look at your back from behind it should be in a straight line. In your spine anatomy, each of your vertebrae should be stacked one on top of the other vertically. If there is a deviation in this curve to the right or left, it is known as a scoliosis.

Types of Scoliosis

There are 2 types of scoliosis:

  1. Functional: Where your body’’s bones and tissues adapt to pain or posture and develop a deviation in the spine as compensation. It is your body’s way avoiding further pressure on a spinal segment. Often, a mild scoliosis is initially beneficial to your pain, but if not resolved fully it may become more difficult to resolve over time.

    Frequently I see people with disc herniations, who at their acute stages present with a scoliosis in their spine. Correction of same is usually very easy, with the correct manual techniques to the disc and exercises to resolve the scoliosis. Do not ignore a scoliosis.

  2. Idiopathic: Although the causes of idiopathic scoliosis are not fully known it is believed that many are genetic in onset. It is seen in Children and adolescents as they grow, and can be difficult to detect initially. It is generally more permanent in nature, unless treated intensively with manual and/or surgical techniques.

    The severity and extent of your idiopathic scoliosis will dictate the treatment of choice. Often exercises and mobilisation therapy will resolve your idiopathic scoliosis, if it is treated from an early stage. Scoliosis in children is more approachable for treatment - I would consider early teens to be the latest stage to resolve a genetic scoliosis manually.

    If your symptoms are severe or extreme treatments such as wearing a back brace or surgical intervention, followed by manual therapy may be required. However, seek expert advice before embarking on surgical interventions.

Scoliosis - In Summary

To summarise - scoliosis is a deviation in the spine that should not be there. It can be temporary or permanent. It can be treated both surgically and/or manually. Ultimately each case requires individual detailed assessment to ensure the correct scoliosis treatments for each individual.


While the content and materials contained in the articles on this website have been written & researched by Sally Ann Quirke, a professional, practising & fully qualified Chartered Physiotherapist (Physical Therapist) based in Ireland, they are provided for general information and educational purposes only. They do not constitute medical advice on any particular individual situation. Please see your Chartered Physiotherapist or other medical practitioner for full and individual consultation.

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