Can Scoliosis Cause Back Pain
While pain isnt a common part of the scoliosis experience for children and adolescents, back and/or radicular pain is the main scoliosis symptom in adults. Keep reading to find out why age makes such a big difference in terms of whether or not scoliosis is likely to cause back pain.
Scoliosis develops across a wide severity spectrum of mild to very severe there are also multiple condition types with varying causative sources and treatment needs. Scoliosis can cause back pain, but its more common in adults, severe forms, or if a condition is left untreated.
Lets start our exploration of scoliosis and back pain by first discussing the condition, then comparing the adolescent and adult experiences in terms of common symptoms.
Scoliosis And Back Pain: Causes Treatments And Prevention
Back pain is a common problem that many people experience at some point in their lives. For some people, back pain is a chronic condition that can be debilitating. Scoliosis is a condition that causes the spine to curve to the side. People with scoliosis often experience back pain. There are many different treatments for back pain, and the best treatment for a person with scoliosis depends on the severity of the condition.
Millions of Americans suffer from spine disorders caused by scoliosis. Adult scoliosis can manifest in mild to severe cases, but many of those with severe symptoms are mild. As part of Scoliosis Awareness Month, well look at the symptoms and how to tell if you have it. The vast majority of Scoliosis cases in children and adolescents are not known to be caused. Osteoporosis of the joints and spinal discs is caused by wear and tear over time. scolios is a condition caused by an incomplete spinal bone in the newborn that is not developed. Scar tissue is caused by a weakened muscle in your back due to a number of medical conditions.
What does Scoliosis feel like? Scoliosis is usually not painful in children or teenagers. Scoliosis can cause other symptoms as well, such as numbness and weakness in the lower legs or pain in the lower back, caused by degenerative adult scoliosis.
Scoliosis Pain: How Scoliosis Affects And Causes Pain
When it comes to living with the conditions most common form, adolescent idiopathic scoliosis , pain isnt generally a big part of the experience adults, however, experience scoliosis-related pain very differently. This difference is largely based on condition severity, compression, and the degenerative effects of aging.
Before we get into the more specific types of scoliosis-related pain and how it affects multiple areas of the body, lets first take a general look at scoliosis and why the typical AIS experience does not include pain.
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Do People With Scoliosis Have More Back Pain
Scoliosis may also cause back pain in some people. Adults with the condition are usually more prone to this type of condition.
Scoliosis: When To Seek Treatment
Scoliosis is typically diagnosed as a mild case that does not necessitate treatment. If your symptoms are severe, your doctor may advise you to seek physical therapy or surgery to resolve the problem. Scoliosis can be treated in the majority of cases with pain relief as well as improved function.
Research: Decompressive Laminectomy For Degenerative Lumbar Scoliosis Is Not Recommended Because It Can Lead To Further Instability
This is a December 2020 study published in the medical journal Clinics in Orthopedic Surgery.
Here are the learning points of this research:
- for degenerative lumbar scoliosis is not recommended because it can lead to further instability.
Did the surgery CAUSE the instability or did the surgery fail to address the instability or both?
That is the question asked by the surgeons. Here is what they found:
- It is uncertain whether instability at the decompressed segments is directly affected by laminectomy or the natural progression of degenerative lumbar scoliosis. The purpose then of this study was to answer that question. Did the surgery cause the instability, or did the surgery fail to address the instability? Both?
The surgeons then examined the case files of sixty patients with degenerative lumbar scoliosis.
- The 60 patients were divided into two groups.
- Patients with post-laminectomy instability at the point of the surgery.
- Patients with post-laminectomy instability in the adjacent segments.
One in 5 needed another surgery, and one in 4 had a new instability
- This is what happened in the 60 patient groups:
- Twelve patients underwent revision surgery.
- Eleven patients showed continued post-laminectomy instability at the index segments
- and 15 patients showed post-laminectomy instability at the adjacent segments, not related to the laminectomy site.
In other words, the surgery caused it.
Here are further resources and research you can explore on our site:
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Scoliosis Pain And Trigger Points
The most common type of pain in adults with scoliosis is due to their posture shifting forward. This change in balance causes development of painful nodules called trigger points to form along the back. These trigger points are very responsive to the specific exercises shown below.
To treat the pain of this forward shifted posture, you must both release the trigger points along the mid to lower back muscle attachment points as well as strengthen the back muscles to lift the posture.
Trigger Points from scoliosis occur over the top of the back of the pelvis and extend up to the middle back. They feel like areas of tense knots in these muscles. They are always painful to deep pressure and in sensitive people, even a light touch can provoke strong pain. Often trigger points can send pain radiating from the back to the flanks, abdomen, buttocks or groin.
CAUTION: We only discuss two of the more common scoliosis patterns. If you are not absolutely certain that your spine matches one of these patterns, DO NOT use these exercises and instead seek out a scoliosis expert to guide you. You can contact us anytime for a free assessment.
Shoulder Pain And Scoliosis
One of the early warning signs that scoliosis is present is an asymmetry of the shoulders: one can appear to sit higher than the other. Especially when bending forward, it becomes more noticeable if one shoulder blade is protruding more on one side than the other.
So does the postural effect that the shoulders experience produce pain, or does scoliosis just make them look different, but not necessarily feel different?
There are a lot of uneven forces at work with scoliosis, so when a patient is struggling with shoulder pain, its most likely going to be the shoulder that isnt subject to the postural shift. For example, if a patients curvature bends to the left, its going to be the right shoulder thats most likely to feel the affects, and vice versa.
This is because the normal shoulder is trying to compensate for the uneven force of the tendons and muscles working to move the spine back into a healthy alignment.
If left untreated and to progress, scoliosis can start to affect both shoulders as the body tries harder to adjust to the unhealthy spinal curvature.
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How Do You Get Scoliosis
In general, degenerative adult scoliosis cases are caused by wear and tear. Child and adolescent scoliosis cases come from either unknown causes or problems present at birth.
More than 80 percent of scoliosis cases have an unknown cause, also known as idiopathic scoliosis. This type of scoliosis begins between the ages of 10 and 15, whereas degenerative scoliosis is more prevalent as you age. You can also develop congenital scoliosis or neuromuscular scoliosis.
Despite its prevalence, medical experts still are unclear what causes this type of scoliosis. What they do know is its unrelated to environmental factors, such as poor posture, sitting at a desk too long or repeatedly lifting heavy weights. There is some research that shows genetics play a role, so youre more likely to develop scoliosis if a family history exists.
As you age, the support your spine needs to help you move slowly erodes. More specifically, wear and tear of your spinal discs and joints causes this type of scoliosis . Its the most common type of scoliosis in adults, and curvature typically presents itself after the age of 50 in the lumbar spine.
Babies can be born with undeveloped spinal bones that can lead to spinal curvature later in life. Sometimes, a pediatrician can diagnose this type of scoliosis early on if there are noticeable physical changes. Other cases arent found until a child begins to grow.
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
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Is Scoliosis Considered A Disability
In order for scoliosis to be considered a disability by Social Services, it has to meet the SSAs definition of disabled: It would have to prevent you from doing the work you did before. It would have to prevent you from doing other similar work.
Why does my back hurt in between my shoulder blades?
Poor posture, injury, or problems with the spine can all lead to upper back pain. A common cause of pain between the shoulder blades is muscle strain. Treatments for mild upper back pain include stretching exercises and pain relievers. Some cases of pain between the shoulder blades are preventable.
What causes severe pain between the shoulder blades?
The most common cause of pain between the shoulder blades is a muscle strain. This can result from poor posture , excess lifting, activities that involve twisting such as golf or tennis or even sleeping on a poor mattress.
What vitamins should I take for scoliosis?
Your doctor may recommend taking vitamin D3 to improve bone density, magnesium to boost spinal health, and fish oil supplements for their anti-inflammatory properties. Even if you eat a healthy diet, it doesnt hurt to take these supplements on your doctors recommendation to help reduce scoliosis pain.
Prolotherapy Injections: Treating The Ligaments In The Lumbar Spine
When people search for help with their scoliosis-related pain and they start to focus on why their spine is curving, like the researchers above, they may come across an article, like this one, where the possible cause of the worsening curve of their spine is thought to come from weakened ligaments. There are not many of these types of articles unless you are searching for why surgery to correct this condition may have failed and you found out that your scoliosis was worse after surgery because of surgical damage to the ligaments.
In one patient category, however, ligament laxity or weakness is described at length. That is in people with hEDS or Hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome and Hypermobility Spectrum Disorders. This is a topic of another article, we invite you to begin this exploration here: Prolotherapy for Hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome and Hypermobility Spectrum Disorders.
At our center, we see many adult patients with spinal instability and a history of scoliosis. They are at our center because the many problems and challenges that these people have in their spines are getting worse.
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Scoliosis Pinched Nerve Symptoms
The legs are numb, cramping, and shooting pain from pinched nerves. The muscles on the back and leg are experiencing fatigue due to strain. It is possible that one shoulder or hip has an advantage over the other. The arm may hang in the same direction if one is on the other.
Scoliosis can lead to neurological symptoms and deficits in some adults. The incidence of these findings and how they may influence treatment decisions is unknown. The study of Justin S. Smith. The factors that influence whether or not to undergo operative treatment were assessed. Severe radiculopathy resulted in higher mean ODI scores . The spinal cord deformity study group was founded by Smith JS, Shaffrey CI, Berven S, Glassman S, Hamill C, Horton W, Ondra S, Schwab F, Shainline M, Fu KM, Bridwell K. The Philadelphia Pa. The Journal of Engineering and Technology, March 1, 2014. Paulus MC, Kalantar SB, Radcliff K, Weinstein SL, and Haro H. Cost and value of spinal deformity surgery: an analysis of clinical evaluation and self-assessment by patients following surgery for degeneration of the degeneration of the vertebral column The Journal of Biological Chemistry, July 15, 16: 168 * *
Seeking Treatment For Back Pain
Although the majority of adults with scoliosis do not have any symptoms, some may develop pain. Arthritis, lack of uprightness, and weakness of the core musculature are just a few of the reasons why back pain is painful. If you are experiencing significant pain, you should consult with a healthcare professional to rule out other causes. If you have chronic pain, you may want to consider getting treatment.
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Pain And Adult Scoliosis: Idiopathic And De Novo
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.
Is Scoliosis A Chronic Illness
Over time, scoliosis can become a chronic disease. This may occur if a childs spine develops during infancy or early childhood, and he or she is not diagnosed and treated until adolescence.
The spine bends to the side as a result of scoliosis. Although it can affect people of all ages, it primarily affects children between the ages of ten and fifteen. Scoliosis can be treated, as well as how severe the curve is, as long as you are not too old and the curve is not too severe. Scoliosis can affect the majority of peoples lives, but it can also be a source of enjoyment. The majority of people do not experience any significant pain or other health problems as a result of this condition. It is not recommended to avoid exercising unless directed by your doctor. It is an excellent resource for finding information and support for people who have scoliosis.
It is no coincidence that these conditions are linked to lower levels of physical health and well-being. Scoliosis patients face significant challenges in terms of their overall quality of life. There is no such thing as a trivial issue here. Scoliosis can cause a number of health issues in addition to physical and mental health problems. It is critical that we recognize and address these challenges so that these individuals can live their best lives.
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What Kind Of Back Pain Is Associated With Scoliosis
Adult spinal stenosis is frequently accompanied by an adult scoliosis. As a result, compression of the spine causes nerve compression, which causes pain in the buttocks and legs a cluster of symptoms known as sciatica.
Scoliosis is a progressive neurological condition that causes severe pain. Over time, the spine curves unnaturally, resembling an S or C shape. It is common for cases to remain undetected for several years or longer. Scoliosis causes back pain in 40% of people. One option for reducing spine pain and stabilizing the spine is spinal fusion surgery. Surgery for Scoliosis has a high success rate, relieves pain, and restores posture. Scoliosis can be diagnosed and treated with the assistance of a neurosurgeon. Bracing can be effective when spinal growth is still occurring and the spine has not gone too far. Chronic back pain can be treated with exercise.
Does Scoliosis Cause Pain How Scoliosis Is Linked With Pain
There are multiple factors that go into determining the type of symptoms a persons scoliosis is likely to produce. Patient age, amount of degeneration in the spinal joints, curvature location, and posture changes all play a role. Interestingly, there is no correlation between curve size and the amount of pain produced by the scoliosis people with small curves can experience strong pain and people with large curves may have little or no pain.
Scoliosis is a highly variable spinal condition, meaning every case is different. Scoliosis is not generally known as painful in children and adolescents, but adults experience scoliosis-related pain very differently this is due to how compression is felt by the spine and its surroundings.
Before moving on to the specific topic of how scoliosis is linked with pain, lets first take a general look at what defines the condition, in addition to what is happening inside the body of a person with scoliosis.
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