What is lumbar scoliosis and how to treat

Lumbar scoliosis is the lateral deviation of the spine that occurs at the end of the spine. It can be called:

  • Thoraco-lumbar scoliosis: when the beginning of the curve is between the T12 and S1 vertebrae
  • Lumbar: when the beginning of the curve is between the L1 and S1 vertebrae

Lumbar scoliosis can also be classified according to the curve side of the spine, which can be on the right or left. Thus, lumbar scoliosis can be called: left or right convexity, and even dextroconvex. There are people who have only lumbar scoliosis, but there are also cases that present curves in the cervico-thoracic region. If you want more information about other types of scoliosis, click here.

Its cause cannot be understood in about 80% of cases, and is therefore considered idiopathic, but it is not caused by improper backpack use, poor posture or sport.

What are the signs and symptoms

Signs and symptoms of thoraco-lumbar scoliosis can include:

The diagnosis can be made by the doctor or physiotherapist when observing the individual's posture and is confirmed by an X-ray examination where the Risser degree, height difference between the legs, the degree of lateral inclination and the roundest vertebra can be analyzed. This deviation in the spine is usually noticed between 10-12 years of age, but there are cases of babies who have been born with severe changes in the spine, requiring surgery.

In milder cases, and when the cause is not known, there is no need to perform other tests, but MRI can be indicated when there is suspicion of sciatic nerve compression, for example.

Scoliosis that reaches up to 25 degrees in children has no absolute indication for surgery, although it is recommended to use an orthopedic vest to help correct the spine, and as a complementary form, corrective exercises in physical therapy. Physiotherapy is of great importance because it can stabilize the degree, preventing scoliosis from getting worse, but it may not fully heal degrees above 10, although it can reduce the Cobb angle, improve asymmetry and stabilization.

What is the treatment

There is not always a need to perform a specific treatment for scoliosis, especially when it has mild scoliosis and the person does not show signs and symptoms, however when there is back pain and discomfort, sciatic nerve compression or when there is a large deviation, the treatment can be indicated.

Usually scoliosis curves over 50 degrees are severe and tend to increase throughout life, so surgery is needed to correct them, but curves with 30 degrees or more also tend to increase from 0.5 to 2 degrees per year, it is important to perform physical therapy with exercises to correct it. Scoliosis curves below 30 degrees usually do not worsen over time, and the need for treatment is dependent on whether the person is in pain or not or whether there are other associated complications.


Treatment can be done through physical therapy with exercises, manual therapy, osteopathy, stretching exercises, global postural reeducation. Exercises are recommended that strengthen the abdominal muscles, the back muscles, as well as the RPG exercises, specific to stretch the muscles that are shortened, in order to promote harmony between the muscular forces.

In many physiotherapy clinics, mirrors are used to help improve the individual's own awareness of their posture while performing the exercises. And although it is possible to perform the exercises at home, there are better results when they are performed together with the physiotherapist, who can constantly correct the exercises.

Check out some exercises that can be indicated:

Sports such as basketball can be recommended for teenagers while wearing an orthopedic vest.

Correction of the way of sitting

You must sit correctly to keep your spine always supported on the back of the chair, you should not cross your legs, and you can only cross at the level of your ankles.

Lumbar scoliosis in pregnancy

The pregnant woman with scoliosis should not have more back pain than the woman who does not have this deviation in the spine. Even in the case of a herniated disc, there is not always an aggravation of pain. However, it is common that in the 2nd and 3rd trimester of pregnancy most pregnant women have back pain.

Check out what you can do in pregnancy to feel better in the following video: