Scoliosis vs. Osteoporosis: What’s the Difference?

Category: Spine | Author: Stefano Sinicropi

scoliosis surgery minnesotaMany patients confuse scoliosis with osteoporosis (perhaps partly due to the fact that their names are similar). Although these two conditions both affect the spine, they are far from identical. This article will define scoliosis and osteoporosis, and discuss the similarities and differences between the two.


Scoliosis is a condition marked by an irregular curvature of the spine. Every person’s spine naturally curves to a certain extent. A scoliosis curvature is so extreme (often resembling the letter C or S) that it can impact normal functionality and lead to a good deal of back pain. The condition is most prevalent in young adults, but is also seen in adults.

Depending on the severity of the curvature, scoliosis can be treated with back bracing and physical therapy, or (in more extreme cases) corrective surgery.


Osteoporosis is a degenerative condition that causes a person’s bones (including the spinal vertebrae) to lose calcium and minerals, making them more brittle. It primarily impacts the elderly. Those who suffer from osteoporosis are at an increased risk for bone fractures, even from minor injuries.

Osteoporosis is often best treated with medications, vitamin supplements, and lifestyle changes. Prevention is the best treatment options since brittle bones are quite difficult to “fix” after osteoporosis has done its damage.

Scoliosis vs. Osteoporosis

Back to the initial question – what is the difference between scoliosis and osteoporosis? Well, apart from the fact that both conditions impact the spine, the conditions are very different. Scoliosis is a curvature of the spine that primarily appears in younger patients, while osteoporosis is a degenerative bone condition affecting mainly aging patients. We should also note that it is possible for a person to suffer from both scoliosis and osteoporosis simultaneously. Additionally, osteoporosis in an elderly patient can lead to that patient developing scoliosis.

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