Can Scoliosis Cause Neck Pain?

Neck pain is one of the most common types of pain in the human anatomy. However, establishing its cause can at times be complex owing to so many potential causes. In fact, some neck injuries may not cause pain at the time of injury.

While some neck pain causes are frequently overlooked, others are simply difficult to diagnose. Scoliosis as one of the potential causes of neck pain falls into the latter category.

So, can Scoliosis really cause neck pain? Well, to comprehensively answer this question, let’s first introduce starters to this type of condition and why its diagnosis may or may not explain the “pain in the neck”.

What is Scoliosis?

Scoliosis is an abnormal curvature of the spine as a result of developmental, congenital, and idiopathic issues. Most cases of Scoliosis have no known cause, and are generally termed as idiopathic Scoliosis.

Diagnosis of Scoliosis

As aforementioned, diagnosis of Scoliosis may sometimes not explain the pain in the neck. In fact, a bigger percentage of side-to-side curvatures are often unjustly implicated as the cause of neck pain or discomfort.

Additionally, some cases of Scoliosis are often considered to be asymptomatic while in reality, they are causing direct or indirect problems due to their influence on the neighboring spinal anatomy.

This is one of the main reasons why the diagnosis of Scoliosis is sometimes complex. In most cases, it requires a combined effort on the part of a neurologist, an orthopedist, and a physical therapist to figure out the potential cause or contributors to a pain condition that may be related to Scoliosis.

Why Scoliosis Can Cause Neck Pain

Scoliosis is rarely seen in the cervical spine alone. Actually, in instances where it exists, the degree of curvature is often mild.

In most cases, the condition is seen in the middle back and when the thoracic curvatures are significantly severe, their influence can extend to the functionality of the neck region as well as in the muscular, skeletal, and neurological realms.

Additionally, muscular and ligamentous pains can affect the neck region, even when Scoliosis is in the lower thoracic region. In such cases, the soft tissue attachments tend to be imbalanced side-to-side and may create tension, laxity or a combination of both, which in turn causes pain above and/or below the curvature.

Lastly, soft tissue pain syndromes can sometimes occur in the neck region, irrespective of Scoliosis’ location in the spine due to anatomical alignment issues or postural changes.


Although Scoliosis is virtually known to be asymptomatic in its mild forms, it can still cause neck pain in some patients. Accordingly, if you feel that the pain in your neck might be due to Scoliosis, be sure to consult with several medical experts to ascertain its true source.

However, never be surprised if some experts have different opinions about the potential cause of the pain. You shouldn’t also be shocked if the recommended modes of treatment vary widely. This is often referred to as diagnostic eclecticism and it is prevalent in Scoliosis neck pain cases.