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Can Scoliosis Cause Back Pain

What Is Adult Scoliosis

SCOLIOSIS back pain RELIEF! | Best exercises for scoliosis spine

Scoliosis is an abnormal curvature of the spine . There is a natural, forward-and-backward curve to the spine. With scoliosis, the spine rotates and develops a side-to-side curve. Curves may be as mild as 10 degrees, or as severe as 100 degrees or more.

Most cases of scoliosis are mild and dont need treatment. In adults, the degree of the spinal curve may or may not determine treatment. Treatment is geared towards relieving symptoms, and not necessarily fixing the curve. The goal is always to decrease pain and improve function.

Though scoliosis itself is painless, the normal age-related degeneration of the spine may lead to symptoms. These symptoms are treated the same whether there is scoliosis or not. Scoliosis only becomes a factor when surgery is being considered. Changes in the appearance of the body are also possible depending on the degree of the spinal curve.

In general, most scoliosis in adolescents occurs in the thoracic or rib cage portion of the spine. In adults the main concern is typically in the lumbar or lower spine. This portion of the spine is most susceptible to the changes seen with aging or degeneration.

Adult Scoliosis Can Be A Pain In The Back And Legs

Just like the padding in our knees wears downover time, so can the cushioning in our spines. In some adults, this can resultin a side-to-side curvature of the spine a condition called adultdegenerative scoliosis.

Adult scoliosis is different from idiopathicscoliosis, which typically affects children and teens. Idiopathic scoliosis candevelop without an apparent cause and accounts for approximately 80% of scoliosiscases in the U.S.

Adult degenerative scoliosis is awear-and-tear breakdown of the spinal discs and joints that results in shiftingand twisting of the vertebrae. As the degeneration progresses, the spine canbecome more out of balance, resulting in back and leg pain. As adults livelonger, more active lives, were seeing an increase in cases of adult scoliosis.

According to The Burden of MusculoskeletalDiseases in the United States, approximately 5.88 million adults in the U.S. have adultscoliosis, though some estimates suggest that number could be as high as 141million because rates of the disease are not well reported.

Adult degenerative scoliosis is a wear-and-tear breakdown of the spinal discs and joints that results in shifting and twisting of the vertebrae. As the degeneration progresses, the spine can become more out of balance, resulting in back and leg pain. As adults live longer, more active lives, were seeing an increase in cases of adult scoliosis.

Carlos Bagley, M.D.

Rates Of Idiopathic Scoliosis Rise Dramatically With Age

A 2014 review published in American Family Physician found that approximately 85% of scoliosis cases are classified as idiopathic, or of unknown cause.1 So, 85% of the people who get diagnosed with scoliosis get no explanation as to what has caused it.

The same review found that between 2% and 4% of teenagers have scoliosis. According to a retrospective study done at Johns Hopkins University, the rate of scoliosis increases to more than 8% in adults over the age of 40.7 And a 2005 study of 75 healthy adults over the age of 60, with no previous diagnosis of scoliosis or spinal surgery, found the rate of scoliosis to be 68%.8

This increasing prevalence with age is a strong indicator that muscular contraction from repetitive activities, injury, and stressthe effects of which increase with ageplay a role in developing the condition.

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How Is Degenerative Scoliosis Diagnosed

An orthopedic surgeon will get the patientâs history, conduct a physical exam and order full spine images, low-dose radiation images or, in some cases, a to confirm a diagnosis for degenerative scoliosis.

These images will be taken of the full spine from both the front and from the side. EOS imaging allows these to be taken simultaneously, without requiring the patient to reposition. CT scans can can provide additional detail, including evidence of arthrosis of the facet joints or the presence of small spinal fractures that may not be visible on X-ray images.

Figures 1 & 2: X-rays showing degenerative scoliosis in its first stages and in a more progressive case .

Figure 3 : CT scan showing normal facet joints with a green arrow pointing to the smooth and regular joint surfaces. Figure 4 : CT scan showing abnormal, osteoarthritic facet joints with thinned and irregular joint surfaces and bone spurs .

may also be used to obtain information about the nerves, discs, and soft tissue in the spine. This is particularly helpful in determining the cause of radicular symptoms in the legs.

Figure 5 : MRI of a patient with a facet cyst causing compression of nerves. Figure 6 : MRI of same patient after facet injection and cyst rupture , completely relieving the compression and eliminating the patientâs pain.

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Is There A Cure For Scoliosis Is It Possible To Prevent Scoliosis

Everday back pain: Scoliosis treatment

At this time, there is no cure for scoliosis. There are good treatment options as discussed above. Researchers are trying to find the causes of the different types of idiopathic scoliosis. This will hopefully lead to better treatments or a cure. Because the cause of idiopathic scoliosis is not known, there is no known way to prevent the problem. However, doctors speculate that doing certain exercises may make scoliosis worse. Gymnastics activities , carrying weight on one side of the body , and using a trampoline are examples of ways to potentially make scoliosis worse.

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Scoliosis Symptoms In Adults

Some adults who have this condition have had it since they were teenagers. Over time, the curves can grow.

Thereâs another form of scoliosis that starts in adulthood. As you get older, wear and tear damages the bones and joints in your spine. The disks that sit between them start to break down. As this happens, the disks lose height and start to tilt. This causes your spine to curve.

Often, back pain is the first sign of scoliosis in adults. The pain may be from bone damage in the back — not the scoliosis itself. As the spine curves, it can put pressure on nearby nerves and cause symptoms like weakness and numbness.

In adults, scoliosis causes symptoms like these:

  • Uneven shoulders and/or hips
  • Bump in the lower back
  • Numbness, weakness, or pain in the legs
  • Trouble walking
  • Bone spurs — bony bumps in the joints of the spine from bone and joint damage
  • Feeling full quickly while you eat. This is because your spine is putting pressure on your belly.

What Are Risk Factors For Scoliosis

Age is a risk factor as the symptoms often begin between 9-15 years of age. Being a female increases the risk of scoliosis, and females have a higher risk of worsening spine curvature than males. Although many individuals who develop the problem do not have family members with scoliosis, a family history of scoliosis increases the risk of the disease.

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Treating The Condition Not Only The Curve

Scoliosis’ impact on your child’s quality of life is our primary concern at ScoliSMART Clinics®. That’s why ScoliSMART treatment programs do not include bracing or surgery. All too often, these treatments decrease quality of life and have poor long-term success. Non-invasive treatment efforts that focus on improving posture memory and untwisting the spine are more effective.

The ScoliSMART treatment programs are not the norm, yet. Traditionally, doctors will tell you to watch your child’s curve if it’s less than 25 degrees. Offer a scoliosis brace if it’s 25 to 40 degrees. Recommend surgery if it’s over 50 degrees. Bracing and surgery both cause increased symptoms, pain, and long-term complications. These outdated methods don’t correct the cause of scoliosis they only treat the curve. Scoliosis continues to progress after bracing and surgery.

If your child has recent signs of scoliosis symptoms or has been struggling with the symptoms of this condition for years, we can help. ScoliSMART’s updated approach for the treatment of scoliosis is changing the lives of kids and adults worldwide.

Epidural Steroid Injections Spinal Injections

Causes of Back Pain, Scoliosis, Disk Degeneration – Dr. Charles Edwards II – Mercy

ESI injections are powerful steroids that are injected into the joint space to help ease pain and inflammation. Injections are used to settle the nerve pain down. Most do not have any proven long-term effect but injections can reduce acute pain or be used as part of a formal pain management program. As a first and conservative treatment option, weve found that a lot of our patients find significant pain relief with a single injection, others take a few injections to find some relief. Injections are helpful for most patients, and others do not find relief with an injection series.

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Scoliosis Symptoms In Kids

This condition usually appears when a child is between 8 and 10 years old. The symptoms might get worse as they grow.

Every child with scoliosis is different. Some don’t have any symptoms. Others have very obvious ones, like:

  • Their shoulders are two different heights.
  • Their head doesn’t look centered with the rest of their body.
  • One hip is higher than the other or sticks out.
  • Their ribs are pushed out.
  • When the child stands straight, their arms don’t hang down straight next to their body.
  • When they bend forward, the two sides of their back are different heights.

These changes to your child’s body can affect their self-esteem.

The Secret Source Of Back Pain

Is that back pain not going away? More than half of Americans will experience some form of back pain. For a small amount, the source can be scoliosis. Scoliosis affects about 6-9 million adolescents and adults. With the right treatment, including surgery, doctors can help reduce that chronic back pain.

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Additional Scoliosis Side Effects

The key to managing scoliosis-related pain is to be proactive. The traditional approach to treating scoliosis, especially if first diagnosed as mild or moderate, involves a lot of observation. Often, treatment isnt initiated until the curvature reaches severe levels or there is a rapid progression.

Not only can initiating early treatment slow or stop the conditions progression, it can also be hugely beneficial in terms of managing pain and other scoliosis-related symptoms.

If scoliosis is left untreated, it is likely that one or more of the following negative side effects can also become an issue:

  • Issues with digestion
  • Low bone density

Simple Back Pain Relief

Back Pain: Scoliosis

Scoliosis or curvature of the spine can cause upper back pain. It can also cause pain in your mid-back and other parts of your body. But, you may not have to have it!

Scoliosis can very often be helped by a muscle specialist. But there are different types of practitioners.

Is your therapist a doctor? Massage therapist? Physio- or physical therapist? Different therapists have different training and different ideas. They may or may not agree with what I say. They may or may not know much about muscles!

Scoliosis can have a few different causes but muscle imbalance is the most common.

Shall I tell you about the scoliosis I used to have?

I had a lot of intense, deep muscle therapy as well as movement to the bones of my head and I only have a small amount of scoliosis left. Whats left is not enough to bother me.

And it certainly wont put me in a wheelchair like it did my aunt!

I wear arch supports in my shoes to help keep me balanced because I had one flat arch. That may have been a result of the scoliosis or perhaps it helped cause it. Its easy to wear arch supports

I do stretches to help maintain the corrections. Its easy to do stretches when you understand which way to stretch.

Heres how I used to be:

If I would lay on my back before I started treatment and place my two hands toward the ceiling and together, my right fingers were over 1 closer to the ceiling than my left fingers. I thought I had one long arm but I was wrong. I was just twisted so much.

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Varying Severity Levels Of Scoliosis

Regardless of age or condition form, a scoliosis diagnosis would involve comprehensively assessing and classifying the condition on its severity spectrum. This is important not only because it guides the treatment approach moving forward, but also because it indicates likely symptoms and potential related complications a patient might experience.

Mild Scoliosis

If a patients Cobb angle is more than 10 degrees, but less than 25, this is diagnosed as mild scoliosis.

Common mild scoliosis symptoms are subtle postural changes such as:

  • Head uncentered over the body
  • Arms and legs that appear to hang differently
  • Ribs that are protruding more prominently on one side, than the other
  • Hips that seem to sit at different heights
  • Unevenly protruding shoulder blades
  • Pain

In addition, clothing suddenly seeming to hang unevenly or changes to a persons walk or balance can also be a sign. The main indicators for mild scoliosis are subtle enough that unless you or a loved one are already on the lookout for signs, its likely that only an expert knowing exactly what to look for would spot the early days of the condition.

If a patients Cobb angle is between 25 and 40 degrees, this is classified as moderate scoliosis. At this stage, the aforementioned symptoms associated with mild scoliosis are more pronounced and easier to notice:

Even in moderate forms of the condition, pain isnt always guaranteed to play a role, especially in younger patients who are still growing.

Severe Scoliosis

Causes Of Sacroiliac Joint Pain

Strain and sprain of the iliolumbar ligament and sacroiliac ligament of the sacroiliac joint are common causes of low back , sacral, and other pelvic pain. Sprain to these ligaments is usually due to postural wear-and-tear or traumatic injury . Sacroiliac joint ligament sprain injuries are typically bilateral, though pain may be more pronounced on one side of the lower back .

Pain in the lower back related to sacroiliac joint ligament sprain is commonly accompanied by misalignment of the sacroiliac joints , other pelvic bones and joints and/or the lumbar vertebrae.

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Scoliosis And Leg Pain

Mainly in cases of adult scoliosis who are vulnerable to compression, the tilted vertebrae of the curvature can compress nearby nerves and muscles.

This nerve compression can be felt throughout the body but is commonly experienced in the back and legs, often in the form of numbness, weakness, and/or tingling.

In cases of degenerative scoliosis, when paired with disc degeneration or spinal stenosis , scoliosis can cause a number of unpleasant sensations, such as shooting pain down the legs caused by adverse pressure placed on the nerves that pass through the spine.

Pain And Adult Scoliosis: Idiopathic And De Novo

Scoliosis – Lower Back Pain Gone in 3 Simple Steps

While the lack of pain in AIS contributes to the challenge of early diagnosis, this is the opposite in adults with the condition. In fact, its most often pain that brings adults in to see me, which is the case with most conditions.

Although we dont like experiencing pain, it plays a crucial role in maintaining the bodys health and wellness it tells us when something is wrong and leads to diagnosis and treatment.

Adult Idiopathic Scoliosis

When adults have scoliosis, the majority of times, these are cases of idiopathic scoliosis from adolescents who had the condition but were unaware. They went through their adolescence without a diagnosis and treatment, and its not until they reached skeletal maturity that the spine became vulnerable to the compressive forces of the curvature. This compression can affect the spine, its surrounding muscles, and nerves.

The compression caused by scoliosis can lead to back pain, but most commonly, its radiating pain in the legs and feet that bring adults in to see me. Weakness and numbness are also common aspects of scoliosis-related pain and related nerve issues.

There is another form of the condition: adult de novo scoliosis.

Adult De Novo Scoliosis

Cases of adult de novo scoliosis differ as patients have no prior history of the condition it develops fresh in adulthood.

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Chest Pain And Scoliosis

Particularly for scoliosis that occurs in the thoracic section of the spine , this can affect the chest. Again, the more severe a persons condition is, or if it has been left untreated for long periods of time and allowed to progress, the more likely it is that extreme symptoms such as chest pain or lung impairment will become an issue.

As an abnormal spinal curvature becomes more and more pronounced, the more the biomechanics of the entire spine is affected, and this can produce a number of seemingly-unrelated complications.

For example, as the thoracic spine bends and twists, it pulls at the rib cage more and more, contorting it and producing that rib arch commonly associated with scoliosis.

The more the ribs become affected, the more the chest can feel it in a number of ways such as pain and muscle spasms.

In extreme cases, this can also impact the lungs and the hearts pulmonary artery flow.

As the rib cage twists and contorts, the space available for the lungs is limited, and this can affect the ability to inhale/exhale deeply. This can result in a feeling of restricted pressure on the chest.

If lung function is impaired, the heart has to work harder to pump blood through the lungs, potentially causing cardiac issues.

While lung impairment and related cardiac issues arent a common symptom of scoliosis, in extreme cases, or cases that have been left untreated, chest pain caused by impairments felt by the lungs and heart can become a factor.


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