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Spine and Back Health

Minor scoliosis causing major problems?



I am a 26 year-old male diagnosed with a minor scoliosis which is centered on the 9th thoracic vertebra. My doctor said the angle is about 5 degrees, and pretty much negligeable.

I initially got an x-ray to find any physical problems that may have been causing tingling finger and femur/pelvic joint pain symptoms (as well as others). I`ve also done upper limb emg`s, ekg`s, blood tests for autoimmune disorders and screening for vestibular disorders; they all came back negative.

I could not take the pain in my body anymore, so I decided I might as well leave the traditional clinical setting and see an osteopath. The doctor said my entire body is basically turned to the right. My body constantly leans to the front and to the right. It is excrutiating. I don`t think I`ve ever felt like I am properly standing on my two feet. Doing the smallest tasks is exhausting, and it is truly hurting my life, as standing or sitting up straight feels like a superhuman effort.

On top of it all, I am now very confused because my doctor said there is no way all my symptoms can be caused by a minor scoliosis, whereas the osteopath says the rotation in my spine is what is causing the rotation in my spine and thus all the muscular imbalances and reduced range of motion that goes with it.

Is it really possible that such a small deviation in one`s spine can cause left to right hemisphere imbalances that go from head to toe? It is so bad I feel it is even affecting my binocular vison...

I appreciate any help.


Hello, thank you for your question. I cannot possibly diagnose your problem in this forum, and will not try to suggest to you what the cause of your symptoms might be. I can tell you that 5 degrees of spinal curvature is almost within the margin of error of the measurement technique, and is therefore considered an insignificant finding. Even people with marked scoliosis, curves in excess of 50 degrees, don't usually experience anything like the symptoms you are having. I would recommend that you see a neurologist and go from there. Good luck.

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Response by:

David J Hart, MD David J Hart, MD
Associate Professor of Neurosurgery
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University