adult scoliosis treatment in las vegas

Adult Scoliosis: FAQs and Treatment Options

The human spine has a normal curvature, but on occasion, the spine develops a curve in the wrong directions, as with scoliosis. The normal curvature of the spine front to back is a slight S-shape with protrusion at the top and low-back regions. When the spine twists to form a S-shaped side-to-side curve, it is called scoliosis.

What area of the spine is affected by scoliosis?

Scoliosis can affect the middle spine region (thoracic spine), the low back region (lumbar spine), or both areas at the same time. Curves range from mild (10 degrees) to severe (more than 100 degrees).

What degree of curvature requires treatment?

Curves that are 40 degrees or less typically do not require surgery and are often braced during adolescence. However, curves that are greater than 40 degrees may require surgical correction. Curves greater than 100 degrees are extremely rare, and may lead to life-threatening problems of the heart and lungs.

What are the symptoms of adult scoliosis?

Other than an abnormal physical appearance, severe cases of adult scoliosis may cause significant back and leg pain, problems with breathing, and abnormal gait (walking). Many cases of adult scoliosis are painless.

Also, one hip or shoulder can appear higher than the other, one shoulder blade may be higher or stick out further than the other, or one arm could hang longer than the other.

What causes adult scoliosis?

Most cases of adult scoliosis occur as a result of two issues. The first is due to exacerbation of childhood scoliosis. When adolescent scoliosis is 40 degrees or more and the child becomes skeletally mature, studies show that the curve may slowly get worse at an average of one degree per year. Over a period of decades, this can add up considerably.

The second cause of scoliosis is arthritis and disc degeneration. When an individual ages and experiences degeneration of the intervertebral disc, the motion in the spinal joints becomes abnormal. Those joints undergo degeneration, which is not always symmetric.

At this point, a spinal curvature may form. It may progressively worsen.

What are the symptoms of adult scoliosis?

As scoliosis progresses, the back pain can worsen, due to arthritis exacerbating. Muscle weakness and aching are common due to an individual’s spine leading to an abnormal posture. It may take considerable muscle straining to walk and see straight.

Due to the arthritis in the spine, the bone and soft tissues may begin to pinch on nerve roots. This is termed spinal stenosis and causes aching and pain in one’s lower extremities.

So the combination of back pain and leg pain may cause a daily problem with function.

How is adult scoliosis diagnosed?

The doctor will examine the spine and do a series of x-rays. This is done to measure and compare the curvature. The purpose of x-rays is to check the size of the rib hump, changes in height, and degree of curvature.

Also, nerves, reflexes, and muscle strength are assessed along with one’s ability to walk. To further evaluate the nerves, spinal cord, and associated structures, the doctor may order an MRI or CT scan.

How is adult scoliosis treated?

There are many treatment options for adult scoliosis. Conservative measures involve medications, exercises, physical therapy, and support braces. While soft braces may help with pain relief, hard braces are not helpful in adult scoliosis like they are in kids. In addition, Las Vegas pain management doctors offer the following treatments:

  • Epidural Injections
  • Facet Blocks
  • Medial Branch Blocks
  • Radiofrequency Ablation
  • Trigger Point Injections
  • TENS Units

Spinal surgery is usually only done when absolutely necessary. Over 90% of patients are able to avoid the need for adult scoliosis surgery, as it entail significant risk.

Surgery for adult scoliosis is an absolute last resort elective procedure. With complication rates over 50%, it is imperative for patients to try all attempts at conservative treatments first.

Nevada Pain offers considerable and comprehensive adult scoliosis nonoperative treatment options. The pain doctors, chiropractors and rehab doctors are experts in over 25 available options.

Call (702) 323-0553 for help today!