Our Guide on the Causes & Treatment of Adult Scoliosis – What to Know
December 4, 2019
December 4, 2019
Scoliosis is a deformity of the spine that is highly common among children who are going through puberty. Though it is most common with children, it is not unusual for adults to have a curvature in the spine as well.
Some adults may not even be aware that they already have scoliosis until they start to feel symptoms like numbness, difficulty in walking, and uneven shoulders, among others. If you are experiencing such symptoms, know that scoliosis can be controlled with regular exercise and a healthy lifestyle. Surgery is not always an option to treat adult scoliosis and may only be considered when the patient experiences pain with incapacitating symptoms.
Below are two common types of scoliosis:
Structural scoliosis – this is considered as the more serious type because it does not straighten on its own and may also lead to more deformity in the spine. The spine’s structure is affected, and if left untreated, it will become permanent.
Non-structural scoliosis – also known as functional scoliosis, this type does not affect the structure of the spine.
Causes and symptoms of adult scoliosis
Know that many adults who are suffering from scoliosis actually had them from a younger age. Adults may develop scoliosis because the bones in their spine become weaker and can get easily damaged as they age. Most often, the first symptom you feel when you have scoliosis as you age is back pain. However, in some cases, the presence of pain is minimal. Below are several other symptoms of scoliosis:
- Height loss
- Uneven alignment of the hips and pelvis
- Shortness of breath
- Numbness or weakness of the legs
- Feeling full when scoliosis is pressuring the abdomen.
How is adult scoliosis diagnosed?
Scoliosis is often diagnosed through a physical exam wherein the doctor will check your spine and its curvature. There will be nerve tests by checking your reflex, sensations. The doctor will also check your muscle strength.
The doctor may request X-rays to view a full image of your spine. There may be instances also where they will request an MRI to rule out any possibilities of a tumor. It is also important that you inform your doctor regarding your lifestyle and daily activities so that they will know how scoliosis affects your quality of life.
How is adult scoliosis treated?
Typically, adult scoliosis is treated without surgery. It is recommended that you regularly visit your doctor, and they will most likely prescribe over-the-counter pain medications.
With conservative treatment, exercise routines and physical therapy are recommended to improve the curvature of the spine, to manage the pain, and to strengthen the spine.
There are times that the pain cannot be managed by over-the-counter pain relievers. In such instances, the doctor will inject epidurals near the spine area or nerve block injections for more effective pain management.
In more severe cases, surgery will be recommended to manage adult Scoliosis. However, surgery is not a popular treatment because of the higher risk of complications. Yet, it is needed when the pain is severe on the legs and back and does not respond to conservative treatment. If the spine is imbalanced, and it begins to affect the quality of life of the patient, the doctors will recommend you to undergo surgery as well.
If you are looking for a scoliosis chiropractor in NYC to help you treat scoliosis, get in touch with us today to see how we can help.