Prevalence of Back Problems in 1069 Adults With Idiopathic Scoliosis and 158 Adults Without Scoliosis

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Study Design.

Multicenter case-control study.


To investigate the prevalence of back problems in adults with idiopathic scoliosis.

Summary of Background Data.

Information on the prevalence of back problems in adults with idiopathic scoliosis is scarce, especially in untreated individuals, males, and individuals with an age at the onset of scoliosis of less than 10 years.


A total of 1069 individuals with idiopathic scoliosis and 158 individuals without scoliosis, all aged 20 to 65 years, answered a questionnaire on back problems. Individuals with scoliosis were diagnosed between ages 4 and 20 years and any treatment was terminated before the age of 20 years. Logistic regression or analysis of variance was used for group comparisons.


Mean (SD) age at the time of investigation in individuals with scoliosis (123 males and 946 females) was 41 (9) years, and in individuals without scoliosis (75 males and 83 females) 45 (13) years. Three hundred seventy-four individuals with scoliosis were untreated, 451 had been brace treated, and 244 were surgically treated. The mean prevalence of back problems was 64% in the individuals with scoliosis and 29% in the individuals without scoliosis (P < 0.001). Among the untreated individuals with scoliosis, 69% reported back problems; among the brace treated, 61%; and among the surgically treated, 64% (P = 0.06). When comparing females and males with scoliosis, and individuals with juvenile and adolescent scoliosis, there were no statistically significant differences in the prevalence of back problems (P = 0.10 and P = 0.23, respectively).


Adults with idiopathic scoliosis have a higher prevalence of back problems than individuals without scoliosis. Treatment, sex, and juvenile or adolescent onset of diagnosis was not related to the prevalence of back problems in adulthood.


Level of Evidence: 2

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