Adult scoliosis takes place in patients who develop the symptoms of scoliosis during their adult years. The condition may have become problematic after aging, as it is entirely possible for a patient to live without symptoms for an extended duration of time. For many adults, the symptoms occur only after a period of degradation where one or more tiny little flaws in the spine worsened.
What are the causes of Adult Scoliosis?
The most common cause of adult scoliosis is for the patient to have had the condition during adolescence but did not require treatment. The scoliosis may have been examined by a physician years prior and was not thought of as likely to cause problems. It is also possible for a patient to go through life having scoliosis and not even know it, only discovering its presence when one or more problematic symptoms occur.
Scoliosis occurring from birth in this manner is diagnosed as a congenital curve, and is one of three possible causes for adult scoliosis.
The second way adult scoliosis can occur within a patient is for them to develop either a Paralytic or a Myopathic curve. While each of these curves occurs from a different cause, both means a failure of the muscles surrounding the spine.
When these muscles spasm, it is possible for them to pull the spine out of its alignment. While this will not immediately cause problems, a misaligned spine can potentially develop into a significant complication for the patient given enough time.
The symptoms of Adult Scoliosis
There are a number of prominent differences in the symptoms of adult scoliosis when comparing it to the condition during adolescent or childhood years. The most noticeable symptom of adult scoliosis is the spine will adopt visible deformities, which may or may not be direct causes of pain for the patient. Deformities in this manner commonly force the patient to change the way they hold themselves, with many adopting an uneven lean or change in their normal walking gait in an effort to cope with the spinal change.
It may also appear as one shoulder or hip being higher than the other, or one of the shoulder blades sticking out of the patient’s back. Depending on the curvature and direction of the spine, some patients may adopt a sloppy posture that can potentially lead to the development of other spinal conditions.
How is Adult Scoliosis diagnosed?
The physician will use a combination of the patient’s medical history (in cases where the patient had been diagnosed with the condition when younger), the patient’s current symptoms, and the results of diagnostic testing.
If there is a visible deformity or symptoms of pain, imaging techniques will be used to see the extent of the spinal curvature. An MRI or CT scan will also be used to investigate the potential compression of one or more spinal nerves and discs.
Treatment options for Adult Scoliosis
It is common for conservative treatments to be used first for those patients with diagnosed adult scoliosis. Medications for pain and inflammation may be prescribed as well as chiropractic treatment and physical therapy sessions to re-align and strengthen the spine. Patients who are not able to obtain noticeable relief with these methods will often have surgery suggested to them. This is often only a last resort due to the inherent risk with spinal surgeries.
If you or a loved one is suffering from adult degenerative scoliosis and would the best nonoperative help, contact Premier Pain Consultants today. The practice offers comprehensive adult scoliosis treatment and is able to keep over 90% of patients from needing surgery.
Call (210) 202-4030 for more information and scheduling!