Functional Spinal Curves That Mimic Scoliosis in Edina, Mn.

Functional Scoliosis


Functional scoliosis is another important category to be aware of, in part because this is not true scoliosis and does not generally imply the existence of spinal deformity.

If, for example, a person has an anatomically short leg on one side, a curvature can develop in the low back. Once the leg length is equalized, even with a simple lift, the “scoliosis” just disappears. Similarly, if a person has chronic poor posture caused by habits and muscle imbalance, or they are suffering with a back injury, they may have a “scoliosis”. As soon as the problem is rectified the “scoliosis” disappears. These are all examples of functional or pseudo-scoliosis.

  • Functional scoliosis is not really a scoliosis at all.
  • When the source of a functional “scoliosis” is rectified, the scoliosis disappears.
  • A short leg, poor posture and back injuries can all mimic true scoliosis.

It is tempting to claim that because a functional scoliosis disappears with treatment that the clinician has resolved “scoliosis”.  True scoliosis is a spinal deformity that does not just resolve when an underlying cause is rectified.  Care must be taken to differentiate true from functional scoliosis.

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