Scoliosis through History

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To celebrate and promote June as National Scoliosis Awareness Month, is shedding light on this mysterious condition that affects about 7 million Americans. Scoliosis is a spine deformity that causes the spine to curve to an abnormal degree, usually side to side. It can lead to a variety of different physiological issues and if left untreated can compromise the health of the victim.

Scoliosis was recently brought into the international spotlight when the remains of King Richard III were recovered under a parking lot in England. Analysis revealed that he suffered from scoliosis, explaining descriptions of a hunchback and trouble walking. Historians speculate that the English king may have been treated by a variety of medieval methods, including through use of devices that would have closely resembled torture devices of the time.

We know now that these methods would be largely ineffective at remedying scoliosis. In fact, many societies throughout the millennia tried to deal with the condition in ways that we would now consider strange. Even today scoliosis remains largely idiopathic, meaning that its exact causes are still unidentified. It’s no wonder ancient peoples attempted so many different remedies.

The history of scoliosis treatment is at least five thousand years old, and reaches right up to modern times. As our understanding of the deformity continues to deepen, we’re developing new procedures and modifying old diagnosis and treatment options to provide scoliosis sufferers. For more on scoliosis treatments, check elsewhere on our site or head to the National Scoliosis Foundation’s site at

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