Can You Develop Scoliosis as an Adult?

Scoliosis is a chronic condition that affects the spine’s natural curvature. When you have scoliosis, your spine bends form left-to-right, instead of the natural front-to-back pattern. The spine resembles an “S” when viewed on imaging. This can result in uneven hips and shoulders, increased pain and limited mobility.

How is scoliosis developed in adulthood?

Scoliosis in adulthood is called “de novo scoliosis.” It often results from degenerative changes in your spine from the aging process. It can also be caused from conditions such as osteoarthritis, compression fractures along the spine and spinal canal stenosis. The curvature usually occurs in the lumbar spine region, but can involve the thoracic region as well. Symptoms of adult scoliosis include a spinal imbalance, uneven hips, noticing that one shoulder is lower than the other, decreased activity tolerance and debilitating pain. Diagnosis is usually made through imaging such as x-rays and MRIs.

What are the treatment options?

Adult scoliosis may be treated with physical therapy, exercise and medication if your symptoms aren’t too severe. You may also be fitted with a custom brace that you’ll need to wear for a certain number of hours during the day. The final option is surgical treatment, usually involving a spinal fusion. Surgical treatment isn’t always recommended for cases of adult scoliosis, because the recovery process can be very hard.

I’ve been diagnosed with adult scoliosis, now what?

First, take a deep breath. While being diagnosed with any medical condition can be scary, understand that there are a lot of options out there that can help you get back to your normal life. Research the treatment options available, and see how they can help you.

Next, make an appointment with a doctor who understands the condition. Treating scoliosis in adolescents is one thing, but treating it in adults is another. Together, you and the doctor can make a treatment plan that works for you. Your first options will almost always include incorporating conservative, non-surgical options. You may be sent to physical therapy and prescribed medications to help with the pain. Incorporating light to moderate physical activity such as walking or swimming will be an important part of your treatment plan as well, as light exercise has been shown to increase strength in the back, which helps with pain elimination and function.

I’m doing those things, but I’m still in pain. What next?

While many people think that chiropractic therapy can’t help with scoliosis, that couldn’t be further from the truth! Our providers here at Jochen Chiropractic and Wellness are well-versed in the treatment of the disease and are ready to help you! Our treatments can help rebalance the spine, move it closer to alignment, help with pain reduction and give you back mobility and function. Many times, these treatments can help stave off painful surgery.

Treatments that we may utilize include cold laser therapy, gentle spinal manipulations, exercises that are specific to scoliosis and therapeutic massage. We focus on making these treatments pain free and gentle.

If you think that you may have adult scoliosis, or have been diagnosed and are looking for relief, use our online booking request above, or call our office to schedule an evaluation today! We are more than ready to help you get back to a pain free and active lifestyle!

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