Scoliosis refers to the curving of the spine. It can develop at any age and affect your posture, body functions, and mobility. While most commonly found in children, adults can also develop scoliosis. Most cases are mild, but the spine curving can cause pain, weakness, and difficulty breathing, especially if it is severe.
Determining The Cause Of Scoliosis
Treatment depends on several factors, as different conditions can cause scoliosis. Most people are born with it. Known as congenital scoliosis, it occurs when spinal bones don’t form entirely or don’t separate correctly.
Conditions like cerebral palsy, spina bifida, or muscular dystrophy can also cause a type of scoliosis known as neuromuscular scoliosis.
Another possible cause is the wear and tear on the spinal discs and joints over time. It is known as degenerative scoliosis, is more prevalent among adults, and affects the lower part of the spine.
Doctors have also observed that there are hereditary factors involved in causing scoliosis. Other causes can include:
- Abnormal bone formation
- Connective tissue disorders
- Spinal tumors
- Trauma or injury to the spine
Assessments And Tests For Diagnosis
Your doctor will ask for your medical history and symptoms to understand your condition and determine a diagnosis. They may ask questions about the following:
- Your medical history
- Your family medical history
- When you first noticed the curving of your spine
- Your pain level
- Any dysfunction in your bowels, bladder, or movement
- Any impact the curving has had on your daily life
They may perform a physical exam to assess your spine. They may also order X-rays to understand its curvature and gauge your condition’s severity.
Other tests the doctor may have you undergo are:
- Measurement of the spinal curve
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Computerized tomography (CT) scan
Choosing The Right Scoliosis Treatment
There are several scoliosis treatments for adults. After assessing the severity of your condition, your doctor can recommend either surgical or non-surgical options.
Most cases of scoliosis don’t need any form of treatment at all. Your doctor will instead monitor your spine for signs of muscle weakness or numbness. They will also order routine X-rays to view the curvature of your spine and see if it is getting worse.
Over-the-counter medication, such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, can be enough to relieve the pain caused by scoliosis for a lot of people. If the aching is severe, your doctor may recommend nerve block injections around the spinal cord.
Your doctor can recommend exercises to alleviate any pain or discomfort caused by scoliosis. These activities can strengthen your abdomen and back and improve your flexibility.
Often recommended as a last resort for severe cases, surgery is another scoliosis treatment that can stop the spine from curving.
There are several surgical options. The most common surgical scoliosis treatment is spinal fusion. Here, doctors combine two or more vertebrae, the bony segments that form your spine. They perform it by inserting bone graft material between the vertebrae. Your provider will create a system to hold the bones in place using rods, screws, wires, and hooks. This allows the vertebrae to fuse without any interference to your movement.
There are several types of spinal fusions, and they differ in purpose and how surgeons perform them.
Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion
In this procedure, the surgeon accesses your spine from the front of your body. They will then remove the disc between two vertebrae and replace it with a bone graft.
Posterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion
This surgical procedure involves implanting two or more metal rods into the spine through an incision at the patient’s back. This approach helps those who have two or three curves in their spine. Doctors recommend it to patients with sufficient bone strength.
Anterior-Posterior Spinal Fusion
This surgery combines both the anterior and posterior approaches to spinal fusion.
This scoliosis treatment helps correct curving by cutting, removing, and realigning spinal segments. Doctors perform it on patients with rigid curves and those who received previous spinal fusion surgery. It can also help those who show little to no flexibility.
People with scoliosis may notice a sizeable hump in their ribs. Thoracoplasty, also known as rib resection, reduces the size of the said hump to improve its appearance.
Orthopedic surgeons sometimes perform it after a previous scoliosis treatment.
Scoliosis Treatment In Rochester Hills, MI
While doctors usually treat scoliosis at a young age, you can still get it treated as an adult. Here at Ahlgren Spine Orthopaedic Surgery, we care for spinal disorders of patients of all ages.
Our very own Dr. Bradley Ahlgren has more than 25 years of clinical experience. He leads a team ready to provide surgical and non-surgical scoliosis treatments. Schedule an appointment by calling us at (248) 215-8080. You may also use our convenient online request form to book a visit to the best spine surgeon near you.
We look forward to serving you!