An abnormal curvature of the spine is called scoliosis. When a person has scoliosis, their spine twists and curves to the side rather than maintaining its normal curvature in the forward and backward directions. The arc radius may range from 10° to 100° or more.
In most cases, scoliosis is mild enough to be managed without intervention. Scoliosis treatment for adults may depend on the severity of the condition. Adults with scoliosis are treated with an emphasis on symptom management rather than curve correction. Discomfort is always minimised, and functionality is improved.
Scoliosis itself doesn’t hurt anyone, but the wear and tear on the spine that comes with growing older can be unpleasant. Those warning indications will still be taken seriously even if scoliosis isn’t present. The doctor can use the degree of spinal curvature to predict the likelihood of potential cosmetic changes to the body. The thoracic (or chest) area is adolescents’ most common site of scoliosis. For many individuals, back pain originates in the lumbar region. This part of the spine is susceptible to wear and tear as you age.
Various indicators may suggest the presence of scoliosis. Schedule an appointment with a physician if the following symptoms are observed.
- Shoulders are asymmetrical; one or both shoulder blades may protrude.
- The head is not precisely centred over the pelvis.
- One or both hips are elevated or disproportionately high.
- The waist is unequal.
- Alterations occur in the appearance or texture of the skin covering the spine.
- The body as a whole leans to one side.
How Is Scoliosis in Adults Treated?
Most instances of adult scoliosis may be handled non-operatively with regular supervision by a physician. They will recommend over-the-counter pain medicines and core-strengthening activities to strengthen the tummy and back and increase your flexibility. If you smoke, you must quit immediately. It has been demonstrated that smoking accelerates the ageing process.
Your physician will undoubtedly suggest physical therapy to maintain strength and alleviate discomfort. Examples include:
- Efforts to enhance posture
- Swimming and other low-impact workouts are beneficial.
- Everyday stretching
- Physical activity
Suppose oral drugs or physical therapy are ineffective in relieving pain. In that case, your doctor may consider an epidural (administered around the spinal cord) or nerve block injections for more effective pain management.
Sometimes, scoliosis treatment for adults involves surgery. Because of the hazards associated with spinal surgery, this is the final therapy choice. Surgical intervention may be advised for the following reasons:
- Pain. You may require surgery if back and leg discomfort from scoliosis becomes severe and persistent and does not respond to conservative therapy.
- Spinal imbalance. Whether the spine remains balanced is important in determining the course of scoliosis and the necessity for surgery. The head should be balanced over the middle of the pelvis when viewed from the front and over the hip joints when viewed from the side when standing. Suppose the curve advances to the point where this is no longer viable. In that case, patients will develop increasing pain and impairment over time.
- Quality of life. Surgical intervention is required to enhance the quality of life. Surgery is not meant to enhance looks alone. The symptoms of spinal deformity might be unpleasant for some individuals. Their spinal misalignment also impacts their essential functions and quality of life. In many circumstances, surgery is the only treatment option available. In younger persons, an aesthetic defect may play a significant role in the choice to undergo surgery, but this is typically not the case for older adults.
Depending on the individual case, several surgical alternatives exist for the spine. Surgical operations generally aim to stabilise the spine, restore balance, and alleviate nerve strain. During spine stabilisation surgery, the vertebrae are fused with bone grafts and metal implants to keep the spine in place.
Surgical scoliosis treatment for adults can enhance a patient’s quality of life and alleviate associated discomfort. Surgical correction of adult spinal deformity often yields excellent outcomes if performed correctly and for the right reasons. Nevertheless, the operations carry a high degree of risk and must be avoided wherever possible.