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Understanding Adult Scoliosis: Causes and Treatment Options



Individuals who have Scoliosis suffer from a spine that is abnormally curved. Although the human spine has a slight curve to it, too much of a curve can cause serious problems as well as pain. Adult scoliosis occurs in individuals over the age of eighteen, meaning that their skeletal structure has already been fully developed. New York City back doctors will be able to properly diagnose scoliosis in individuals suffering from back pain and abnormal spine curvature.

How do You get Scoliosis?
There are several different reasons that an adult can get scoliosis. Some adults have scoliosis as a child, but the deformity and pain worsen as they become an adult. Disc degeneration can cause scoliosis as well, as can fracture in the spine. Individuals who suffer from muscular dystrophies, polio, or other neuromuscular disorders often suffer from neuro-muscular scoliosis.

What are the Symptoms of Scoliosis?
Symptoms include lower back pain and backaches, tiring in the spine due to a lengthy period of sitting or standing, hip and shoulders that are uneven, and having a spine that curves to one side.

How can You Treat Scoliosis?
There are a lot of things to consider when treating Scoliosis, such as what originally caused the affliction, how large the curve in your spine is, and where the curve is located in the spine. There are two main ways to treat the affliction: non-operative and operative.

  • Non-surgical Treatment – A back doctor will assess the extent of scoliosis in an individual, meaning how bad the curving of the spine is, and how much pain it is causing. More often than not, non-surgical treatments are suggested. This includes exercising and conditioning combined with physical therapy and anti-inflammatory medications. Back braces are rarely used on patients who have adult scoliosis, although they are used for children. There are also nerve root blocks and epidural steroid injections available to patients in order to help lower pain the legs, which can be caused by pinched nerves in the lower back.
  • Surgical Treatment – If the spinal curving and pain worsen in an adult, even after non-operative treatment, then the doctor will recommend surgery. In badly deformed spines, surgery will often require cutting through the bone of a vertebral column resection, which means that the entire vertebra must be removed in order to safely realign the spine. It can take anywhere from three to nine months for a patient to recover from surgery.

There are many capable and reputable New York City back doctors who will be able to properly diagnose an adult with scoliosis. They will most likely recommend non-surgical treatment before surgery unless the scoliosis is an advanced state that is causing immobility and pain.