When people think of scoliosis they think of children and teens with crooked backs when in reality many adults suffer from scoliosis. The popular medical approach to scoliosis treatment is to “wait and see”–to monitor the curve to see if its at risk for progression. By these standards the curves that are treated are those that are deemed severe enough to require treatment and the others are left alone. So what happens to these children with scoliosis curves that are untreated? They grow up to be adults with scoliosis curves. Once skeletal maturity is reached, a patient with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis is then classified as adult idiopathic scoliosis and these patients either find that their curves have progressed or they begin to experience pain. Is it too late to be treated for scoliosis?
Though it is rare for scoliosis to present with pain in adolescence, pain is a common symptom of adult scoliosis. The patients in my office receiving adult scoliosis treatment all say the same thing, they were told they had scoliosis as children and teens and received no further treatment or even recommendations. Other patients were braced as teens only to have their curves revert or continue to progress as adults. Then around middle age, sometimes sooner, they begin to experience back pain, hip pain, or other symptoms only to discover that scoliosis is the underlying culprit. There has been a recent movement to treat scoliosis in children as soon as possible, but unfortunately this movement has escaped generations of individuals who weren’t aware they had scoliosis or were never treated because it wasn’t considered “at risk” scoliosis.
So once skeletal maturity is reached is it too late to treat adult scoliosis?
Individuals with adult idiopathic scoliosis CAN still benefit from adult scoliosis exercises, not only prevent further scoliosis progression but to alleviate pain associated with the scoliosis.
Adult idiopathic scoliosis patients can receive adult scoliosis treatment that is uniquely altered to be significantly different from the treatment received by adolescent idiopathic patients. Our office treats patients of all ages with scoliosis and on a given day patients young and old can be seen performing their uniquely different exercises and treatments.
Don’t Wait Any Longer!
It is important to treat adult scoliosis because these curves can worsen from disc degeneration, cause sagittal imbalance, bone spurs, and in more severe cases, cause shooting pain and numbness down the legs from pinched nerves.