4 Things You Need To Know About Degenerative Adult Scoliosis

Scoliosis is a condition characterized by an abnormal curvature of the spine. This curvature often develops in childhood, but in some cases, it can develop in adults with no history of scoliosis. This latter type of scoliosis is known as degenerative adult scoliosis. Here are four things you need to know about this condition.

Why does this condition develop?

Degenerative adult scoliosis occurs as a result of the aging process. As you get older, lots of changes happen throughout your body, including in your spine. The fluid-filled discs that cushion your vertebrae and hold the bones in place start to dry out. As the discs dry out, they shrink. These disks don't always shrink symmetrically, and if they shrink asymmetrically, the uneven load on your spine will allow it to lean sideways.

Osteoporosis can also be a causative factor. Osteoporosis is a degenerative bone disease that makes your bones thinner and weaker, and when your bones are weakened in this way, they can become compressed. If this compression is uneven, your spine will start to curve abnormally.

What are the signs of degenerative adult scoliosis?

Back pain is the main symptom of degenerative adult scoliosis. This pain may radiate from your back into your legs. Deformity is another sign of this condition. For example, you may notice that one of your shoulders is now higher than the other due to the new curvature in your spine. Finally, you may notice that the muscles in your back or abs are sore; this is because the unbalanced spine requires your muscles to work harder.

Is degenerative adult scoliosis serious?

The complications associated with this condition vary based on its severity. If your spine is only mildly curved, back pain may be your only problem. If your spine is more seriously curved, your rib cage may press against important organs like your lungs and heart and impair their function.

How is it treated?

Non-operative treatments are usually tried first. Your doctor may prescribe anti-inflammatory medications or narcotics to help you manage your back pain. If the pain is radiating to your legs, your doctor may inject steroids into your epidural space to relieve this pain. In addition to these medications, you may need to attend physical therapy to strengthen the muscles around your spine to stabilize it.

If your back pain is very severe, you may need to have surgery to straighten your spine. Multiple surgical procedures are available, depending on the severity of your curvature and the exact cause of the problem.

If your back hurts, you may have degenerative adult scoliosis and should see a doctor right away. 

For scoliosis treatment, contact a doctor such as C D Denison.