Symptoms of Scoliosis and Adult Spine Deformity

The symptoms of scoliosis vary and are related to the degree of the curve, the complications it causes, and the location where the curve has developed, among other factors.

The most common symptoms of adult scoliosis are back pain and pain down the legs. Other symptoms:

  • Inability to stand up straight/person appears to lean to one side
  • Inability to stand upright
  • Individuals may notice their clothing fits differently or doesn’t hang straight
  • Lumbar stenosis, in which nerves at the lumbar level are compressed, leading to leg pain and possibly weakness
  • Odd alignment of shoulder blades; sometimes one shoulder blade will be higher or stick out farther than the other
  • Pain in the legs, pins and needles, or difficulty walking due to compression of nerves
  • Unevenly aligned hips; one hip may be higher than the other or stick out farther
  • Visible difference in where the arms hang beside the body
  • Visible hump or prominence on the back near the ribs or waist once curve reaches 30 to 40 degrees


What our Patients Say

Pat Cusick had mild scoliosis for many years, but it never bothered her. The Staten Island woman had an active life, even taking a retirement job as a school nurse after a long career in nursing, which included teaching in an associate degree-...
By any measure, Toni Blankenship was a complicated patient. After a hysterectomy at age 40 triggered early menopause, she started to develop osteoporosis, which more typically starts at a later age. She was also underweight, which didn’t help her...
Before 2012 Dr. Jeff Linden was leading a glamorous life as one of the premier endodontists in New York City. A leading expert in his field, Jeff cared for his patients, mentored young dentistry residents at top teaching hospitals, and was often...
By Alfred Tosto I know I’m a pretty complicated case – I had a liver transplant in 2008 after being diagnosed with cancer and I take a basketful of drugs every day, immunosuppressants, prednisone, a lot of meds. But I’m a project manager and I treat...

Our Care Team

  • Professor of Neurological Surgery, Spinal Surgery
  • Co-Director, Spinal Deformity and Scoliosis Program
  • Director, Spinal Trauma/Adult and Pediatric Spinal Surgery
Phone: 212-746-2260
  • Assistant Professor, Neurosurgery 
Phone: (888) 922-2257
  • Assistant Professor of Neurological Surgery
Phone: 866-426-7787 (Manhattan) / 646-967-2020 (Brooklyn) / 718-780-3070 (Brooklyn CCH)
  • Assistant Professor of Neurological Surgery
Phone: 646-962-3388
  • Chief of Neurological Surgery, NewYork-Presbyterian Queens
  • Professor of Clinical Neurological Surgery
  • Co-director, Weill Cornell Medicine CSF Leak Program
Phone: (718) 670-1837
  • Assistant Professor of Neurological Surgery
Phone: (718) 670-1837
  • Associate Professor of Neurological Surgery, Spine Surgery
Phone: 718-780-3070

Reviewed by: Kai-Ming Fu, MD, PhD
Last reviewed/last updated: August 2021

Weill Cornell Medicine Neurological Surgery 525 East 68 Street, Box 99 New York, NY 10065 Phone: 866-426-7787