When scoliosis is detected early, treatment usually can prevent the problem from getting worse. Most cases of scoliosis are mild and cause no discomfort or physical limitations. In extreme cases that require surgery, the patient usually recovers quickly. Although most people with mild scoliosis can continue normal activities, some people are advised to avoid heavy contact sports or gymnastics. Your doctor will discuss any specific activity limitations with you. Without treatment, severe scoliosis can cause significant deformity and some pain or breathing problems in adult years.