Scoliosis as an adult either develops as a continuation of adolescent idiopathic scoliosis or develops as a new condition with aging. Spinal arthritis does not always develop in the disc or spinal joints symmetrically. Therefore, as one side breaks down faster than the other a scoliotic curve may develop in adults.
When an adolescent has a curve over 40° that is not worthy of surgery, it is common during adulthood for progression to occur at 1 to 2° per year. While this may not sound like much, after 30 to 40 years, eventually the curve may be over 60 to 70° and be very painful.
Surgery as an adult for scoliosis is an elective procedure. Adults do not handle these types of surgeries nearly as well as adolescents, as there is considerable fluid shifts and stress on the heart and the body in general. Complication rates are well over 50%.
Surgery may very well end up being an extremely successful endeavor, but all attempts at conservative treatment should be tried beforehand to see if it is truly necessary. For instance, physical therapy to strengthen the muscles around the spine can take some pressure off of the arthritic and painful areas. This can provide symptomatic relief along with medication management such as with anti-inflammatories, Tylenol and some topical agents.
Additionally, there are some very effective interventional procedures available with Las Vegas pain management doctors to relieve the symptoms from symptomatic adult
scoliosis. This may include a series of epidural injections if the overgrowth from arthritis is pinching on nerve roots ending up with spinal stenosis. The epidural injections place steroid around these pinched nerves and can provide soothing relief for months at a time.
For the back pain that occurs with adult scoliosis, facet injections or medial branch blocks over the painful spinal joints can provide months of relief at a time. When the pain relief wears off, these can either be repeated or followed up with a radiofrequency ablation procedure. This can burn the painful nerves around those joints and provide 12 to 18 months of consistent pain relief.
The good news is that even with the multitude of arthritic joints that are painful with adult scoliosis, all of them can be treated with radiofrequency procedures with multiple procedures. And the procedure can be repeated with the expectation that the success will be repeated with the next procedure.
With complication rates exceeding 60% for adult scoliosis procedures, they should be undertaken only as a last resort. That way, if something were to go wrong, then an individual can truly say they tried everything prior to undergoing surgery. If you or a loved one is suffering from back and/or leg pain due to spinal arthritis and have scoliosis, help is available.
The Nevada Pain Network connects those in pain with pain management Las Vegas trusts. Pain doctors in Las Vegas provide comprehensive treatment options including medication management, interventional procedures and more.
To get started with treatment, simply complete the form on this page or call (702) 323-0553 for more information and scheduling today!