Adult Scoliosis

What is scoliosis in adults?

Scoliosis is where the spine twists and curves to the side.

In adults the condition is caused by degenerative changes in the spine which create a curve – this can lead to discs slipping out of place, and pressure being built in certain areas of the back. And, it can follow childhood scoliosis, a fracture, or previous spine surgery.

What are the symptoms?

The main symptoms are back pain, specifically in the lower back, leg pain and sciatica.

Sufferers may feel pain with movement, difficulty maintaining posture, they may lose their independence through deterioration in mobility and may feel restricted movement due to stiffness, and loss of walking tolerance. And, lying, sitting, standing and walking can all be affected.

In addition, due to pain building in other areas, sufferers may feel unstable and can often be tilted to the side. They may experience sciatica and pain radiating throughout their back, upper back, between the shoulder blades and neck, and headaches.

To overcome this, it is common for sufferers to put pressure on other muscles in the back to straighten their posture, which can create muscle fatigue pain. This can have a detrimental impact on the way they walk, and can lead to them becoming housebound.

In severe cases, people may experience numbness or sciatica symptoms.

How can it be treated?

Firstly, it is essential that a full diagnosis is conducted to uncover the cause of the back pain.

At Wimbledon Clinics, we can conduct a full X-ray that looks at the patient’s whole skeleton, not just the degeneration, and identifies how the sufferer holds their spine.

We believe that the inherent posture of the skeleton is paramount to the diagnosis and treatment. An MRI scan is often essential and will look at the soft tissue such as discs, muscles, ligaments, the spinal cord and nerves of the spine area.  It is excellent for screening for cancer. A SPECT CT  will examine the bone architecture and in some cases decipher where the pain is generated. Blood tests can also reveal more information about the causes.

Once the assessment is conducted, there are various ways scoliosis can be treated in adults, depending on the severity of the condition.

These include:


This can involve activities such as pilates, yoga and physiotherapy, which can ease the pressure that is built up in particular areas of the spine.

Short-term relief

This includes targeted injections for the spine, which can relieve pain and help patients avoid surgery.

Decompression surgery

If a patient has poor walking tolerance, pain in the leg and numbness, total reconstruction of the spine is an option. This involves conducting a full X-ray of the spine, identifying what needs to be done to return it to its optimum shape, and rebalancing the spine using minimally invasive surgery or keyhole surgery techniques to fix the bones in place. 

At Wimbledon Clinics we have a dedicated, specialist team called the Spine Group.

Our surgeons have experience not only in primary deformity surgery where the spine has not been operated on before, but in post-surgical deformity where the deformity is as a result of previous surgery.

They are experts in the assessment, interpretation and treatment planning of scoliosis, and have a wealth of experience to ensure that patients receive robust and considered decisions for their treatment; where surgery is offered it can be done by a team of experts in the safest possible environment. In addition, our surgeons work with a team of dedicated pain and spinal physiotherapy specialists for planning nonoperative and postoperative management.

We focus on what the patient wants to achieve, aiming to avoid surgery where possible by exploring non-operative treatments, enabling patients to get back to what they enjoy doing the most.

And to find out how you can benefit from our adult scoliosis treatments, get in touch by calling 020 3962 1738 or email [email protected] or fill in the form on this page.

Meet the Spine Group

At Wimbledon Clinics we have a dedicated, expert Spine Group consisting of a team of clinical surgeons that specialise in specific areas, as well as non-operative specialists, physiotherapists, pain specialists, psychologists and orthotists.

We focus on what the patient wants to achieve, aiming to avoid surgery where possible by exploring non-operative treatments first, enabling patients to get back to what they enjoy doing the most.

We are constantly developing our treatment methods, using the latest spinal surgical techniques and technology to ensure you are given the best medical care available, in the safest and most efficient way. 

Our Spine Group includes:


Consultant Orthopaedic Spinal Surgeon 

Treats a wide range of spinal diseases and back injuries – from simple disc problems to complex cancer and scoliosis surgeries. Has extensive expertise in the revolutionary scoliosis treatment, Vertebral Body Tethering (VBT).

Specialist in: fractures, paediatric spine deformity and  scoliosis, and myeloma.


Consultant Orthopaedic Spinal Surgeon

Practice includes all aspects of spinal surgery, including surgery for cervical, thoracic, lumbar and sacral pathology. Also highly skilled in performing complex spinal trauma and tumour stabilisation.

Specialist in: adult and paediatric spine deformity and scoliosis, metastatic spine cancer and revision spine surgery.


Consultant Orthopaedic Spinal Surgeon

Specialises in complex spinal surgery including failed back syndrome, scoliosis and kyphosis surgery. Treats spinal tumours, metastases of the spine and offers balloon kyphoplasty. Experienced in minimally invasive surgery.

Specialist in: complex adult spine deformity and scoliosis, minimally invasive anterior spinal surgery, revision surgery and myeloma.