Scoliosis is a condition in which a person’s spine curves from side to side. The angle can range from mild to severe, and it can be present at birth or develop during adolescence. Scoliosis can cause back pain and limit your ability to move without pain. In contrast, scoliosis treatment for adults may depend on the severity of your condition and any associated issues that may arise. The good news is that therapies, including bracing and surgery, can help manage these issues.
Treatment for scoliosis depends on various factors.
The scoliosis treatment for adults depends on age, degree of curvature and other factors. Some options include:
- Brace treatment. A brace may be used to correct a mild curve and prevent further curvature from developing over time.
- Observation or no treatment. Observation without treatment may be recommended for a slight curvature that does not appear to be worsening. Treatment should be considered if there are signs that the curve is increasing in size or becoming more pronounced over time.
Braces to prevent or slow curve progression.
Braces are a standard first line of treatment for scoliosis and can be used to prevent or slow curve progression. While bracing is not a cure, it can help manage the condition. Bracing is not recommended for adults due to the safety risks associated with wearing the brace over a long period. Still, surgery may be more beneficial in older patients with progressive scoliosis as they age.
Surgery is an option for severe curves.
Surgery is most suitable for severe curvatures that affect breathing, eating or posture.
Surgery may involve the spine being straightened with rods and screws, or it may include removing a part of the backbone and inserting a device called a cage to hold the spine in place. Surgery is only recommended for scoliosis if you have a curve between 45 degrees and 90 degrees.
Surgery can help with breathing, eating, walking and posture. However, surgery has risks such as infection or nerve damage that can cause pain or even paralysis in some cases.
Early diagnosis and treatment are vital in managing scoliosis.
Unfortunately, most people don’t realise they have scoliosis until they are well into adulthood. A child with scoliosis may have a curved spine visible from the side, or one shoulder might appear higher than another. For adults, signs include back or neck pain that doesn’t go away with rest and worsens over time.
Adult treatments are usually more effective at stopping growth if necessary because they’re less invasive than surgeries on growing spines.
The sooner you know about scoliosis, the better.
The earlier you seek treatment, the more options are available to you. The sooner scoliosis is diagnosed and treated, the less likely it is to become a serious problem or cause complications. The longer you wait to seek treatment after being diagnosed with scoliosis, the fewer options will be available to manage your curve.
For example, bracing may be recommended as a treatment option if your curve measures 20-29 degrees when first diagnosed and managed (early intervention). Surgery may be the recommended course of action if your turn measures 30-39 degrees at diagnosis but is not yet causing symptoms (intermediate stage). Surgery can provide long-term pain relief and improve spinal alignment in teens with severe curves that have progressed rapidly into adulthood despite wearing braces for years. It’s important to note that surgical procedures have risks such as infection or nerve damage due to anaesthesia use during lengthy operations performed under general anaesthesia instead of local anaesthesia (which takes place over several days).
With early detection and proper care, many patients can live happy and productive lives without any limitations caused by scoliosis!