Emergency icon Important Updates
What exactly does it mean when you’re told you have scoliosis? Isn’t that something kids get?

It’s understandable if you’re a puzzled and concerned about a scoliosis diagnosis. And yes, while scoliosis (an abnormal spinal curve) is most often diagnosed during childhood or adolescence (pediatric scoliosis), it sometimes doesn’t show up until adulthood. And even though you may not have noticed any symptoms yet, this curve can get worse. Eventually, that could lead to pain and weakness in your back, hips, arms and legs if left untreated.

That’s why we’re here. Cleveland Clinic’s expert healthcare providers can help stop your scoliosis from progressing. We offer the latest, most effective treatments for adult scoliosis to help improve your posture, appearance, movement, pain and overall well-being.

Why Choose Cleveland Clinic for Scoliosis Care?

caring approach icon

Caring approach:

Scoliosis can affect your health and well-being in many ways. And it can cause a lot of frustration. That’s why your care team does more than relieve pain and correct your posture. We’re here to help you feel better about yourself and find ways to stay active during and after treatment.

collaborative care icon

Collaborative care:

When you come to Cleveland Clinic, you’ll have a care team of providers from different specialties selected based on your unique needs and diagnosis. We make sure you get the most personalized care for the best results. Meet our team.

comprehensive treatment icon

Comprehensive treatment:

We’re experts in all types of scoliosis, no matter how curved your spine is — or what’s causing it. Whether it’s watchful waiting or injections, physical therapy or surgery, your care team spends time learning what treatments will work best for you.

Innovation and Research Icon

Innovation and research:

Cleveland Clinic’s large research program for managing back and neck conditions focuses on developing new treatments and ways to improve your quality of life. Through our clinical trials, you may be able to join a study to try advanced therapies that aren’t widely available.

Virtual Consultation icon

Virtual visits:

Not all appointments need to be in person. Virtual visits let you meet one-on-one with your providers using a smartphone, tablet or computer — and your internet connection. You can talk about your progress and concerns with your care team from the comfort of your home.

national recognition icon

National recognition:

Cleveland Clinic is a trusted healthcare leader. We're recognized in the U.S. and throughout the world for our expertise and care.

Diagnosing Scoliosis at Cleveland Clinic

Your spine typically has a natural, forward-backward curve. But when you have adult scoliosis, this curve rotates your spine into a side-to-side curve — usually in your lower spine (lumbar region).

Scoliosis itself is painless. But your spine’s normal degeneration (getting worse over time) throughout adulthood can trigger symptoms like pain, movement problems, height loss, uneven pelvis and hip alignment (asymmetry) and changes in appearance.

Many cases of adult scoliosis are mild and don’t need treatment because there are few, if any, symptoms. But for more severe cases with painful symptoms, treatment can help you manage the condition. And getting the right diagnosis to meet your needs is important.

What to expect at your first visit

Your story is important to us. So, when you come for your first appointment, we want to hear from you first. Then your provider will ask you a lot of questions about what’s been going on with your back, like:

  • What symptoms have you noticed?
  • When did you first notice these symptoms?
  • Have the symptoms been getting worse?
  • How are the symptoms affecting your life?

You’ll also get a physical examination, including a careful look at your back. And we’ll talk about your health history and get more details about your symptoms. Next, your provider will order tests to help them learn more about your spine, like:

These test results will help us learn more about your spinal curve by giving us information about the:

  • Degree or severity of curvature: How severe the curve is, as measured by the scoliometer.
  • Location of the curve: Curves in certain areas of your spine may be more likely to progress over time, which may mean you’ll need more aggressive treatment.
  • Type of scoliosis: Does your spine curve to the left or right (levoscoliosis and dextroscoliosis)? Is it degenerative?

Meet Our Scoliosis Team

Cleveland Clinic believes in team-based care, which means we make sure you have the right experts for your unique needs. Your care team will include providers from different specialties — all working together to give you the most personalized care possible. Your team may include:


Our healthcare providers see patients at convenient locations throughout Northeast Ohio and Florida.

Treating Scoliosis at Cleveland Clinic

There are different ways to manage adult scoliosis. And we’ll recommend the ones we feel will best meet your needs and diagnosis as we build a highly individualized treatment plan. You may have one treatment or a combination of them.

Watchful waiting

If you have mild scoliosis, you may not need treatment right away. Instead, your provider may use observation, or a “watch and wait” approach. You’ll have follow-up appointments to repeat testing and see if any symptoms have started.

Physical therapy

Most of the time, we’ll recommend physical therapy to relieve pain and strengthen your core. This will include stretching and low-impact exercises to improve your posture and flexibility. It’s important to stay active.


Scoliosis can put pressure on the nerves in and around your spine. That can cause pain, numbness, tingling, heaviness and other bothersome sensations in your back, hips, legs and arms.

We may have you start taking oral over-the-counter (no prescription needed) medications that help relieve pain and inflammation. This includes nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen (Motrin®, Advil®), naproxen sodium (Aleve®) and aspirin (Bayer® or St. Joseph®).

If these medications don’t help, your provider may recommend injections of corticosteroids or nerve block injections.

Scoliosis surgery

Surgery can stop symptoms as a last-resort option to relieve pain that doesn’t respond to other treatments. It can also treat spinal imbalances when your pelvis and hip joints aren’t lined up correctly. Your provider may also recommend surgery to help relieve nerve pressure, stabilize your spine and help you with balance.

We try to do minimally invasive spine surgery when possible for faster recovery, less pain and reduced risks of complications.

Taking the Next Step

Scoliosis can affect many aspects of your life. Back pain. Tingling. Trouble balancing. All of this can be frustrating. But Cleveland Clinic’s experienced providers are here to support you. And help you find the right treatment options to improve your posture, reduce pain and keep you moving.

Getting an appointment with Cleveland Clinic’s scoliosis experts is easy. We’re here to help you get the care you need.


Getting an appointment with Cleveland Clinic’s scoliosis experts is easy. We’re here to help you get the care you need.

Manage your Cleveland Clinic account. Find billing information and financial assistance, plus FAQs.

Billing & Insurance

Manage your Cleveland Clinic account. Find billing information and financial assistance, plus FAQs.

Securely access your personal health information at any time, day or night.


Securely access your personal health information at any time, day or night.

Health Library
Back to Top