Could Your Back Pain Be Adult Scoliosis?

Many of us suffer from back pain and there are lots of reasons why. Scoliosis is a lateral curvature of the spine, and although it is mostly a childhood condition, you can be diagnosed with adult scoliosis. This can happen if someone’s childhood curve was not corrected, or it’s also possible it could be newly diagnosed. Could your back pain be adult scoliosis?

What Causes Adult Scoliosis?

There are almost six million cases of adult scoliosis in the US, but it is believed there are more undiagnosed cases. Most are in their 60s and 70s.

There are two types of adult scoliosis: idiopathic (no known cause) scoliosis and degenerative scoliosis.

young woman with scoliosis

  • Idiopathic adult scoliosis is basically a continuation of their childhood or teen scoliosis.
  • Degenerative adult scoliosis develops due to wear and tear and breakdown of spinal discs and joints which shift the vertebrae. With time, the spine may become more out of alignment to cause not only back pain, but also leg pain.

As adults continue to live longer and enjoy more activities like golf, swimming, and walking, cases of degenerative adult scoliosis are increasing because it accelerates the aging process of the spine.

Common Symptoms Of Adult Scoliosis

With scoliosis, instead of a front to back slight curve, there is a lateral or side to side curve in the spine. This can be as little as 10 degrees or as much as 100 degrees or more.

This age related scoliosis can have symptoms of back pain since it normally develops in the lower spine or lumbar region. In addition, common symptoms include the inability to stand straight, leg pain with numbness and weakness, uneven alignment of the pelvis and hips and loss of height.

Treatment For Adult Scoliosis

Most cases of scoliosis do not require treatment. With degenerative adult scoliosis, the goal of any treatment is to relieve symptoms, not necessarily straighten the curve.

Physical therapy can be employed to minimize the stress on the spine when lifting or bending. Acupuncture is another treatment which can help some adults. Steroid injections are another therapy to relieve pain and improve function.

If you had scoliosis as a child and you suspect it has developed into adult degenerative scoliosis with back pain, contact OrthoNY for an evaluation.

To schedule an appointment, please call (518) 489-2663 or request an appointment online today.