Can an Osteopath Help with Scoliosis?


A typical spine has three natural curves, one in the cervical spine in the neck (lordosis), one in the Thoracic spine from the base of the neck to the lower back (kyphosis), and one in the lumbar spine in the lower back to the tip of the coccyx (lordosis),.

In what is considered a typical spine, the curves run anterior and posterior to the body. As children and adolescents, some people develop a condition known as scoliosis, where the spine curves laterally.

Scoliosis is more of a description than a diagnosis, as there are many causes of scoliosis. The word scoliosis is a Greek word meaning bent or curved and is most prevalent in people of female biology, affecting one in five between the ages of nine and fourteen. This spinal condition is less prevalent in those of male biology. 

It is often unclear what the cause of the condition is, and those cases are referred to as idiopathic scoliosis. In most cases, the curvature of the spine is very mild and does not require excessive treatment. 

Types of scoliosis

Although there are many reasons why a growing child or adolescent may develop scoliosis, most types of scoliosis will come under two headings.

Functional scoliosis

Functional scoliosis references spine curvature that is not caused by spinal complications or structural abnormalities.

This could include things such as:

  • Differences in leg length
  • Poor posture
  • Muscular over or under-use in asymmetrical sports or activities
  • Pain and muscle spasm caused by recent or long-term injury

This type of scoliosis is the most treatable and reversible and responds well to corrective, exercise and manual manipulation therapies, like osteopathy. 

Structural scoliosis

Structural scoliosis describes a fixed curvature of the spine. This type of spinal curvature, unfortunately, cannot be reversed and requires life-long management.

Causes of structural scoliosis could include:

  • Idiopathic (unknown cause)
  • Birth-defects
  • Neurological disorders
  • Congenial conditions and more

Managing structural scoliosis requires a case by case approach, and a symbiotic team of medical professionals usually yields the best results in optimising the quality of life for the sufferer.

Acute scoliosis

In more severe cases, scoliosis can lead to an array of adverse health conditions that can significantly affect a scoliosis sufferer’s quality of life.

Some of the short and long term effects of acute scoliosis include:

  • Chronic neck and back pain
  • Physical distortion
  • Lung and heart complications
  • Deteriorative movement 
  • Hip pain
  • Leg pain and more

Extreme cases of scoliosis can be disabling, and medical professionals may suggest a brace as a young person grows, to achieve as much spinal correction as possible as the young person progresses into adulthood.

What does scoliosis look like?

All cases of scoliosis are usually unique to the individual; still, there are some telltale signs that a child or adolescent may have scoliosis.

Common signs that scoliosis could be an issue include, but are not limited to:

  • One shoulder is higher than the other, or one shoulder blade protrudes more than the other
  • Uneven or adversely protruding hips
  • A subtle or obvious lateral ‘C’ or ‘S’ shaped curvature of the spine
  • Ribs showing more prominent on one side of the body (“Rib Humping”)
  • Head not centred when the body is neutral or relaxed

Though other conditions may cause these symptoms or abnormalities, these factors are strong indicators that scoliosis may be a factor, and a professional medical assessment should be sought.

Scoliosis treatment

Depending on the type of scoliosis diagnosed and the severity of the curvature, several common treatments may be offered to manage or correct spinal curvature.


Bracing is generally suggested for children and adolescents who are still growing and have a more extreme incidence of scoliosis, like curvature ranging from 25 to 50-degrees, for instance.


Surgery is the most invasive of scoliosis treatments and is offered when the spinal curvature is greater than 45 to 50-degrees. The type of surgery offered often varies from case to case.

Exercise therapy

In cases where functional scoliosis has been identified, exercise therapy can increase muscle strength and endurance, helping to correct the spine as the muscles surrounding the curvature help correct posture and improve or reverse the spinal curve.

Manual therapy

Manual therapy is any therapy that provides external manipulation and adjustment of the spine’s curvature; this could include chiropractic care, physiotherapy or osteopathy.

The team here at Ace Sports Clinic consists of highly qualified and experienced therapists who can effectively help to improve, manage, and treat scoliosis with osteopathy in Malvern, and surrounding areas.

Scoliosis and osteopathy

In combination with other therapies and techniques, osteopathy can yield significant results in treating or correcting structural and functional scoliosis.

The Osteopathic team here at Ace Sports Clinic, can independently assess or work with your current medical team to customise a treatment that can manage, reduce or reverse the adverse effects of medically diagnosed scoliosis.

Diagnosis can be obtained via x-ray or by an assessment by a spinal professional like an osteopath, physiotherapist or chiropractor.

Osteopaths employ a variety of techniques when treating scoliosis, including:

  • Physical manipulation of the joints including gentle mobilisation & articulation
  • Manual manipulation of the muscles like massage and muscle energy techniques
  • Spinal adjustments including high-velocity, low amplitude techniques
  • Myofascial release, counterstrain and functional techniques and more

Osteopathy can yield significant results for people living with scoliosis and can work in perfect harmony with other traditional scoliosis treatments.

Cutting edge osteopathic therapy for scoliosis

If you suffer from scoliosis, and are looking for an experienced and reliable osteopathy clinic in Malvern with a proven track record for getting results, then contact our team of skilled practitioners today to book an assessment.

We offer a wide range of physical therapy modalities, including:

Our experienced team of health care professionals offer a genuinely holistic approach to your health. We are dedicated to providing our clients with personalised health solutions that are tailored to each person’s unique needs.

We are an international organisation that strives to remain at the forefront of modern therapies while providing world-class health services to our clients. We are passionate about improving your health and wellness through our collaborative team approach that delivers solutions for pain, injury rehab and improved performance.

For more information about our diverse range of healthcare services or to book an appointment with one of our scoliosis practitioners, contact our friendly wellness coordinators today via phone or email. We can help you.

Send your enquiry via our online contact form, and one of our team members can contact you at your preferred time.