Adult Scoliosis: Understanding the Facts

What is Adult Scoliosis?

Adult scoliosis usually affects adults who have been diagnosed with scoliosis as an adolescent. These adolescent patients are commonly diagnosed with Idiopathic Adolescent Scoliosis (IAP). Though many adults with scoliosis have been affected by scoliosis since their childhood, there are some cases where adults can develop scoliosis later in life.  

Individuals with scoliosis have an abnormal curvature to the spine. Typically, the human spine has three curves, making an “S” shape from the side view of a person. Someone with scoliosis has a lateral curve that is greater than 10 degrees. Generally, this results in a “C” or “S” shape from the front view, or rear view, of the human body.

 How is Scoliosis Caused?

The most commonly diagnosed scoliosis is “Idiopathic Scoliosis,” which indicates that the cause of scoliosis is unknown. However, in the remainder of cases, the cause of scoliosis varies.

Congenital Curve: This rare abnormality was present from birth.

Paralytic Curve: Caused from non-functioning muscles surrounding the spine, this curve is often caused from a spinal cord injury.

Myopathic Deformity: This case is present in patients with with cerebral palsy, polio, or other conditions where the muscles do not work properly. This can cause an abnormal curvature to the spine.

Secondary: Degeneration, osteoporosis, osteomalacia, and any other spinal conditions which affect the vertebrae can cause a secondary scoliosis.

What is Degenerative Adult Scoliosis?

This condition is also known as Adult “De Novo,” and is typically caused from age and deterioration of the spine. This deterioration plays a significant role in the development of an abnormal curvature in the spine. In women, another contributing factor is osteoporosis. Symptoms of Degenerative Adult Scoliosis include low back pain, increased pressure on nerves that can cause pain and numbness in the lower extremities. In some severe cases the pressure on the nerves can cause decreased coordination and mobility.

How Chiropractic Care can Help Scoliosis

Due to the varying causes of scoliosis, a chiropractor will perform an assessment of your scoliosis and the root cause of it and develop a plan of action to help relieve your pain and symptoms associated with scoliosis. Chiropractic care can help treat or diminish deterioration to the spine. It is very important to see your chiropractor in the early stages of scoliosis, to help prevent it from progressing. Patients with scoliosis have reported that chiropractic care has relieved pain, improved posture, and increased mobility.

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