Medical News Today: What is dextroscoliosis?

Dextroscoliosis refers to an abnormal, right-leaning curvature of the spine. It is a type of scoliosis.

The spinal column of people with dextroscoliosis may appear to be curved in an S or C shape.

In this article, we look at how a person can relieve symptoms of dextroscoliosis with treatment and exercise.

What is dextroscoliosis?

Dextroscoliosis shown in x-rays of spine.
Dextroscoliosis is when the spine curves abnormally to the right of the body.

Dextrosoliosis is a type of scoliosis — a term which refers to conditions involving an abnormal curvature of the spine.

Although abnormal curvatures can develop anywhere in a person’s spinal column, dextroscoliosis tends to occur in the middle and upper portions of the spine (thoracic spine).

Scoliosis can be caused by neuromuscular conditions, connective tissue disorders, and genetic conditions. But, approximately 85 percent of scoliosis cases have no known cause (idiopathic).

Types of scoliosis include:

  • Congenital scoliosis, which is scoliosis that is present at birth.
  • Early onset scoliosis, which is when scoliosis occurs before age 10.
  • Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis, which causes both curving and twisting of a child’s spine as they grow.
  • Degenerative scoliosis, which occurs in older people because bones get weaker with age.
  • Neuromuscular scoliosis, which is caused by a neurological condition.
  • Scheuermann’s kyphosis, when the front sections of the vertebrae grow slower than the back sections.
  • Syndromic scoliosis, which develops because of an underlying syndrome.

Scoliosis impacts an estimated 2 to 3 percent of people in the United States. Most people develop the condition between the age of 10 and 15.

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Exercises for dextroscoliosis

One way to reduce pain and compensate for limited movement in the spine is to increase the mobility and strength of the hips.

Stretches and exercises that stretch the spine, expand the chest, and strengthen the muscles of the back also seem to improve scoliosis symptoms.

Popular exercises that may help reduce dextroscoliosis symptoms include:

Gluteal stretch:

  1. Laying flat on the back, straighten both legs upward.
  2. Bend one leg at the knee and place the side of the shin of the bent leg on the knee of the straightened leg, allowing the bent leg to relax and stretch outward to the side.
  3. Clasping the hands around the straightened leg, pull both legs toward the chest as far as is comfortable.
  4. Hold for at least 20 seconds.
  5. Release both legs slowly and repeat the stretch with the other leg.

Knee to chest stretch:

woman lying down with knees bent, hugging them to her chest in the Apanasana yoga pose
Gentle stretches and exercises may help to treat scoliosis. If any of these stretches cause pain or discomfort, stop immediately.
  1. Laying flat on the back, bend both knees.
  2. Clasp the hands around one knee and lift it toward the chest while keeping the foot of the other leg flat on the ground.
  3. Slowly and steadily straighten the raised leg upward, clasping the back of the leg with both hands.
  4. Hold for at least 20 seconds.
  5. Slowly bring the leg back down and repeat with the other leg.

Thigh stretch:

  1. Lying on the side with both legs fully extended, bend the top leg at the knee.
  2. Clasping the foot or ankle of the bent leg, pull it back toward the middle to upper back, keeping the knees in line with each other.
  3. Hold for at least 20 seconds.
  4. Release the leg slowly and repeat with the other leg.

Lunge stretch:

  1. Get into a plank or push up position.
  2. Raise one leg and bring it forward, resting the foot next to the hands. The knee should sit directly above the ankle.
  3. Bend the knee of the straightened leg, and rest it on the floor.
  4. Bend forward at the hips as far as is comfortable.
  5. Hold for at least 20 seconds.
  6. Release the pose slowly and repeat with the other leg.

Shoulder stretch:

  1. Standing with the feet hip-width apart, raise one arm straight up as far as is comfortable.
  2. Keeping the upward-reaching arm extended, stretch the opposite arm down as far as is comfortable.
  3. Hold for at least 20 seconds.
  4. Release both arms and repeat on the opposite side.

Overhead stretch and reach:

  1. Standing with the feet hip-width apart, bend one arm and rest the hand on the hip.
  2. Raise the other arm up and over the head and lean in the direction of the bent arm as far as is comfortable.
  3. Hold for at least 20 seconds.
  4. Release both arms and repeat on the opposite side.

Lying butterfly stretch:

  1. Lying on the back, bend the knees and bring the ankles together.
  2. Putting one hand on each knee, let the knees fall away from each other as far as is comfortable.
  3. Hold for at least 20 seconds.

Yoga is suitable for people with scoliosis. Several core yoga poses, including the Cat, the Tree, and the Mountain, may be particularly beneficial.

Some people with scoliosis experience reduced lung capacity. Practicing breathing exercises may help improve lung capacity and reduce related symptoms, such as weakness and headache.

Learning auto-correction techniques, or tricks that help a person recognize and correct poor posture has also been shown to help reduce pain caused by scoliosis.

According to the National Scoliosis Foundation, there is limited research on the benefits of therapeutic and recreational exercise for people with scoliosis.

Although specific exercises have shown promise in reducing scoliosis symptoms, the best treatment plan for each case depends on the location and extent of the curvature.


The best way to treat dextroscoliosis depends on a person’s age, symptoms, and the severity of their condition.

Around 600,000 people in the U.S. seek medical attention for scoliosis symptoms.

Of those who seek treatment, an estimated 30,000 children are fitted for a back brace to treat scoliosis, while some 38,000 undergo surgery.

Mild to moderate scoliosis

Scoliosis is confirmed using X-rays. A positive diagnosis of mild scoliosis requires the angle of the spine curvature to be greater than 10 degrees.

Mild cases of dextroscoliosis usually only require medical monitoring. A doctor may examine the progression of the curve every 6 months to a year and ask about symptoms, such as pain or discomfort.

Curvatures with angles between 25 and 30 degrees are classified as moderate scoliosis and typically require some form of treatment.

For moderate cases of scoliosis, doctors may recommend taking X-ray images every 6 months or yearly. In adults with scoliosis, X-rays may only be necessary every 5 years, since they are no longer growing.

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Severe scoliosis

person wearing back brace to correct spinal posture.
A back brace may be recommended to help correct spinal posture. These will be made to fit the individual.

Curvatures over 35 degrees are considered severe and almost always require treatment. A doctor may recommend either a back brace or surgery.

For moderate to severe curves, a back brace can be made to fit an individual’s spine.

A person will need to wear the scoliosis brace at all times, except when eating, sleeping, or exercising. Braces for scoliosis only work for children and adolescents, when the spine is still actively growing.

Surgery may be necessary if scoliosis is severe. Most scoliosis surgeries involve fusing spinal vertebrae or segments together to encourage the spine to straighten.

Surgeons may also place metal rods or straightening devices into the spine to help it stay straight during recovery.

Additional therapies that may be used to treat dextroscoliosis symptoms include:

  • electrostimulation therapy
  • dietary changes or nutritional supplements
  • chiropractic therapy
  • massage therapy
  • physiotherapy
  • aquatic therapy or exercise
  • hot and cold therapy
  • pilates
  • reflexology
  • alexander technique training


Scoliosis can cause pain, discomfort, and reduced mobility. It can also lead to low moods and low self-esteem.

While scoliosis can cause back pain, it may also be caused by another condition. In one study, 10 percent of people with scoliosis who complained of back pain had an underlying condition, such as spondylolisthesis, syringomyelia, tethered cord, herniated disc, or a spinal tumor.

Though most cases of scoliosis resolve before the curvature causes serious health complications, untreated or severe scoliosis can be disabling, even life-threatening.

Long-term monitoring of people with scoliosis may also pose health risks, primarily due to repeated radiation from diagnostic scans.

Complications associated with scoliosis include:

  • reduced quality of life due to chronic pain
  • limited mobility
  • reduced respiratory function
  • reduced heart function
  • reduced gastrointestinal function
  • muscle loss
  • nerve pain or loss of nerve function
  • cancer from repeated radiation exposure

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Dextroscoliosis can cause pain, discomfort, and reduced mobility. However, mild to moderate cases of scoliosis only require medical monitoring, and people may be able to reduce their symptoms by exercise or wearing a brace.

In cases involving young children, scoliosis symptoms often resolve on their own over time.

Severe cases of scoliosis that cause pain or discomfort may require surgery. Anyone who has scoliosis and feels pain should seek medical attention.

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