What Causes Pain From Scoliosis
People with scoliosis experience varying levels of pain, and the main factors that affect pain are condition severity and age.
The majority of adolescent patients experience scoliosis without any semblance of pain.
Adults with scoliosis are far more likely to experience pains than adolescents.
Moreover, the severity of the spinal curvature along the coronal plane also dictates the amount of pain.
If the condition is worse, the pains come with more symptoms.
Scoliosis pain can result from spinal disk stress, facet joint pressure, joint strain, nerve stretching and irritation, and muscle pain.
Adult Scoliosis And Pain
Obviously, adulthood is marked by a lack of growth. Once growth and that lengthening motion stops, scoliosis-related pain expresses itself more aggressively.
As the lengthening of the spine is replaced by compression of the spine, that compression places pressure on the spine and its surrounding nerves and tissues. The discomfort and pain can become debilitating and worsens with age, especially if left untreated.
The Emotional Component Of Scoliosis
While the physical pain associated with the condition is an important symptom to address as part of any treatment plan, I find that the emotional pain and stress of living with a progressive condition such as scoliosis is often overlooked.
When you think of the many challenges of being an adolescent, add to that dealing with a condition that can change a persons gait and physical appearance. While the associated physical changes can be subtle or noticeable, depending on the condition severity, anything that sets a young person apart from their peers can lead to a negative body image and self-esteem issues.
In extreme cases where an adolescents scoliosis keeps them from participating in a sport or activity, they love, feelings of hopelessness for the future are also common.
For those patients who choose the traditional treatment path and spinal-fusion surgery, the emotional stress of worrying that a screw will come loose or a rod will break can take its toll over time. These patients talk about how their fear of living with hardware in their back and the resultant physical limitations stops them from trying new things or partaking in certain physical activities.
Fortunately, the aforementioned pain solutions are also effective in improving mental health and wellness.
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Surgery In Teenagers And Young Adults
In teenagers and young adults whose spine has stopped growing, an operation called a spinal fusion may be carried out.
This is a major operation where the spine is straightened using metal rods attached with screws, hooks, and/or wires, and bone grafts are used to fuse the spine in place. This metalwork will usually be left in place permanently, unless they cause any problems.
The surgery will take several hours. After surgery, your child will be transferred to an intensive care unit or high dependency unit , where they will be given fluids through a vein and pain relief. Most children are well enough to leave intensive care after a day or two, although they will often need to spend another five to 10 days in hospital.
After the operation, most children can return to school after a few weeks and can play sports after a few months. Contact sports should be avoided for 9-12 months. Occasionally a back brace may need to be worn to protect the metal rods after surgery.
What Does Scoliosis Look Like
When looking at a healthy spine from the side, you will see natural curves that form a slight S-shape. These curves allow for flexibility and weight distribution at each section of the spine.
Starting at the top of the spine, the cervical spine curves slightly inward from your neck to your upper back and shoulders. This is known as a lordotic curve and makes a C-shaped curve. From there, the thoracic spine curves outward in a C-shape known as a kyphotic curve. Finally, the lumbar spine has the same curve as the cervical spine, angling slightly inward from your lower back to your sacrum and pelvis.
In certain cases, side-to-side abnormalities or deformities in these curves occur, known as scoliosis. Instead of your spine running down a vertical line when viewing it from behind, scoliosis causes the spine to look more like a C or S. For a medical diagnosis to occur, the curve must measure at least 10 degrees and can present itself in various areas such as on either side of the spine or at the thoracic or lumbar spine.
Although an X-ray can diagnose scoliosis, several visual clues may appear to indicate you have abnormal spinal curves. Depending on the affected area, your shoulders, hips and rib cage may appear uneven due to the bones twisting or rotating. Your head may also appear off-centered instead of directly over your pelvis. In more severe cases, your body may lean one way.
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What Is The Outlook For Adult Scoliosis
The outlook for adult scoliosis can vary depending on the type and severity of symptoms. Non-operative treatment, with modalities such as physical therapy, a regular exercise program, and over the counter anti-inflammatory medications is always the first line of care. Maintaining an ideal body weight and maintaining a regular exercise program are excellent ways to minimize symptoms associated with adult scoliosis.
Surgical treatment of adult scoliosis can improve a patients quality of life and deal with pain connected to the condition. The results of adult spinal deformity surgery are typically very good, if done well and for the right reasons. With that said, the surgeries are associated with significant risk, and should be avoided if at all possible.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 09/25/2019.
Age And Scoliosis Pain
Every patient has their own unique set of symptoms and strategies for managing those symptoms. In addition to the curvatures severity, there is another crucial factor that impacts the level of pain in my patients: age.
There is a lot of mystery that still surrounds scoliosis. A lot of that mystery resides around causation as 80 percent of diagnosed scoliosis cases are classed as idiopathic. Idiopathic means having no known single cause. Within that group, the majority of those cases are classed as adolescent idiopathic scoliosis, and this is where age and pain become relevant.
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Physical Therapy For Scoliosis In Austin Tx
Physical therapists are well-versed in correcting and treating scoliosis. People who have mild scoliosis can therefore be successfully treated without surgery or medication.
At Endeavor Physical Therapy & Wellness, we take pride in our experienced medical team of licensed physical therapists and other healthcare providers. We serve the areas of Austin, Manor, Round Rock, Pflugerville, Cedar Park, Bee Caves, and Hutto.
If you have any questions or would like to schedule a consultation, contact our friendly staff today by calling us at 284-7192 or by filling out our appointment request form online now. Together, we can help keep your back and spine healthy for a lifetime.
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What Can We Do To Work With Scoliosis And Other Types Of Back Pain
Many traditional approaches have been used to treat scoliosis. It may be various forms of stretching, strengthening or manual therapies to treat muscles and bones. However these traditional methods only create a temporary fix or band aid solution.The ROOT CAUSE is not being addressed. To get to the root cause, we need to retrain the nervous systemand teach it how to work with our muscles to stop poor habitual movements and postures from creating recurring injuries.
We can educate the nervous system to actively learn a new way of moving with slow mindful movements. By working mindfully and slow, we can teach the nervous how to voluntarily or consciously release chronically tight muscles which have simply forgotten how to switch off. Using a 3 step movement process called pandiculation will help to reset muscle length and reduce tension. Pandiculation releases involuntary or subconscious muscle contraction and brings muscles back into voluntary or conscious control. Pandiculation resets the resting muscle length and tension with gentle and relaxing movements which are suitable for all ages and health conditions.
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Treatments To Increase Strength And Mobility
As with most back pain, increasing strength and mobility can both relieve pain and reduce the risk for pain to recur in the future. Treatments that can help strengthen the back and/or keep it flexible include:
- Physical therapy. A physical therapist or other qualified medical professional can help develop an exercise and stretching routine to meet the patients specific needs. Physical therapy can help keep the soft tissues and joints limber as well as strengthen the targeted muscles.
- Pool therapy. Some exercises, such as water therapy, can be done in a pool. The bodys natural buoyancy in water helps counteract the effects of gravity, enabling patients to condition muscles while putting less stress on the facet joints.
Some people might find other treatments also help, such as massage therapy to help boost blood circulation and loosen muscles and joints.
Differential Diagnosis Of Back Pain In Adult Scoliosis
In conclusion, it is not possible to predict health related quality of life in adults from their baseline pre-adult condition. Back pain is multifactorial and lumbar scoliosis could constitute a subgroup within the low back pain population . Adults with painful scoliosis need a complete clinical history, physical exploration and complementary explorations in order to establish whether their pain is related to the scoliosis or not. When pain/disability is present, some radiological parameters correlate with self-reported pain/disability and assessment of those parameters is essential to establish the relationship: deformity level and curve type according to the SRS classification for adult spinal deformity , frontal and sagittal olisthesis, lumbar lordosis , thoracolumbar kyphosis , end plate L3 obliquity , rotation, MRI degenerative changes at the apical level and junctional zones and global frontal and sagittal imbalance. Cobb angle does not correlate with back pain although those patients without pain use to present smaller curves and in some studies incidence and degree of back pain was higher in more severe curves . Age did not correlate with pain although pain /disability is the main reason to go under surgery in older adult scoliosis patients. Pain/disability can be assessed by using VAS, SRS questionnaires and SF-36.
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The Top 5 Benefits Of The Strauss Method
The Strauss Method has given scoliosis sufferers freedom, quality of life, and peace of mind. You wont believe the additional benefits that come with slowing your progression and decreasing your pain. You have the opportunity to non-invasively improve your condition and your life. What would you give to have hope that your condition will not get worse, but instead will improve?
The Universal Guide To Lower Back Pain: Everything You Ever Wanted To Know Straight From The Experts
In This Article: | | | | | | | | | |
If youve ever had lower back pain stop you from doing what you want, youre not alone. Lower back pain is one of the most common medical problems in the world. It is a leading reason why people visit a doctor, affecting more than 80% of adults at some point in their lives. According to the Global Burden of Diseasea significant study published in the Lancet medical journallower back pain is also a leading cause of disability.
While severe lower back pain can cause worry, pain severity is not always an indication something is seriously wrong. Photo Source: Shutterstock.
You may not be able to prevent lower back pain, especially as you age and your back loses some strength and resilience. Fortunately, there are many ways you can get relief, no matter the cause of your back pain.
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Strengthening Exercises For Scoliosis
To perform the following Scoliosis exercises, you will need to learn how to bow the spine.
Bowing is the active movement of a specific part of the spine which allows for certain areas to be stretched or strengthened.
The aim is to move the spine so that the Apex of your curve is shifted towards the opposite direction.
Consider Seeing A Physiotherapist
If your pain is bad, it may also be worth seeing a physiotherapist who can give you special exercises for your case and show you how to do them safely. They can also provide other treatments which may help provide scoliosis pain relief including massages and acupuncture. I have seen many physiotherapists over the years and had massage therapy and acupuncture, both of which have helped me. I have also been referred to Pilates classes by my GP.
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What Can We Do If We Have Scoliosis
The brilliant news is that your nervous system is absolutely amazing and you have the capabilities to regain conscious or voluntary control of muscles which are currently subconsciously or involuntary contracted.Statistics reveal that with age our muscles get tighter. According to The Journal of Childrens Orthopedics , the percentage of scoliosis diagnoses increases with age:
Surgery As A Remedy For Pain
Many people who suffer from scoliosis-related pain choose spinal-fusion surgery out of fear. Some think it might be the only option to alleviate their pain, or they feel surgery is a preemptive strike against increasing pain levels associated with aging.
I respond to these concerns by pointing out to my patients that surgery is neither their only, nor their best option. While surgery can be successful in terms of making the spine straighter, it can have a big cost in terms of flexibility, functionality, and overall body health. Often, pain at the fusion site or infection can also be prevalent and lead to further complications and subsequent surgeries.
Surgeons do their very best to minimize negative outcomes and surgical side effects, but the bottom line is that spinal-fusion surgery is costly, invasive, and has the potential to affect the body in numerous negative ways.
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Why Does Scoliosis Develop In Adulthood
While scoliosis can sometimes be hereditary, or the result of a past trauma, the primary cause of adult deformity is aging, or natural wear-and-tear, as well as degenerative arthritis that occurs within the joints of the spine.
As a result of natural degeneration and arthritis, mild scoliosis is fairly common in advanced age. For some patients, however, deformity can progress and develop into spinal stenosis where nerves begin to get pinched, says Dr. Kang.
The primary symptom of scoliosis is pain in the legs caused by these pinched nerves, as well as low-back pain. Some scoliosis patients may not experience symptoms. To diagnose scoliosis, doctors use X-ray and MRI imaging.
How To Treat Scoliosis
This article was medically reviewed by Troy A. Miles, MD. Dr. Miles is an Orthopedic Surgeon specializing in Adult Joint Reconstruction in California. He received his MD from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in 2010, followed by a residency at the Oregon Health & Science University and fellowship at the University of California, Davis. He is a Diplomat of the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery and is a member of the American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons, American Orthopaedic Association, American Association of Orthopaedic Surgery, and the North Pacific Orthopaedic Society.There are 15 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 173,114 times.
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Remedies For Scoliosis Pain
Here at the Scoliosis Reduction Center, weve learned a lot about the power of scoliosis-specific chiropractic treatment and pain management. Not only does our chiropractic-centered treatment approach have positive results in terms of managing the conditions progression and achieving a reduction, it also provides our patients with a lot of relief and helps restore function.
What Are The Symptoms Of Adult Scoliosis
Most cases of adult scoliosis dont cause symptoms, though pain may develop. Back pain occurs for many reasons including arthritis, inability to stand upright, and/or due to weakness of the core musculature and loss of conditioning. Leg pain/numbness/weakness may develop if there is pressure on the nerves in the lumbar spine.
In some cases, changes in the body may include:
- Height loss
- Uneven alignment of the pelvis and hips
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A Testimonial From A Total Somatics’ Clients
I would like you to consider my lovely client who has scoliosis. She has allowed me to show you her X ray. Notice her curvature. Before being introduced to Somatics she was advised to strengthen her muscles by certain traditional methods, this increased her pain and created additional muscular tension and changed to her curvature further. When she discovered Somatics, notice in her comments how it really helped her.
X Ray taken in 2017 X Ray taken in 2010
I have been working with Heidi over the past year to help me to manage pain associated with scoliosis. The gentle movements and muscle release techniques have helped me to find relief, particularly at the end of my work day. Over the past few years, I have tried many avenues to help manage my scoliosis. Programs from exercise physiologists and physios focusing on strength seemed to only increase tightness in my back muscles, pulling on my curvature. Physical therapies such as physio, acupuncture and cupping, provided only temporary relief. Somatics has helped me to be more aware of my posture, it has helped me to bridge the gap between what my body sees as normal and how I should really be standing. Just a few minutes a day helps to relax tight muscles, clear the mind and reduce tension.
Would you like to retrain your nervous system to work more efficiently with your muscles? Would you like to reduce pain?Improve your posture?Increase your mobility?Take back control of your health and wellbeing?