Scoliosis is the sideway abnormal curve of the spine. It may occur when one shoulder is higher than the other or when the spine has a prominent hump. It can occur in both children and adults. The conditions and form, however, can be different. There are six major types of scoliosis.
- Congenital: This defect is present at birth due to the incomplete development of the vertebrate.
- Infantile: This occurs in patients younger than 3 years of age and is more common in boys.
- Juvenile: This type of scoliosis is found in children from age 3-10 and has the highest risk of progression in girls.
- Idiopathic: This is the most common type of scoliosis and is seen in children age 11-16. The term “idiopathic” is commonly used when a medical condition arises without a cause. Girls are more prone to this type of scoliosis.
- Neuromuscular: This type of scoliosis is caused by many associated diseases that lead to neurological or muscular complications. The age is variable depending upon the progression of the disease.
- Adult-acquired: This is caused by the degeneration of disc and joints of the spine as the person ages hence, also known as degenerative scoliosis.
Adult-acquired scoliosis or degenerative scoliosis results from the wear and tear of facets joints and the intervertebral disc of the spine. It mostly occurs in adults and happens in the lower spine. Patients having acquired scoliosis usually don’t experience any symptoms. However, if it becomes symptomatic, they complain about pain ranging from dull to severe in the lower back and sometimes leg.
Causes and Symptoms:
Degeneration is a natural process that happens over time. If the degeneration is pronounced, it leads to painful symptoms. These symptoms appear gradually throughout the day. The pain is worsened when standing or walking for too long. This roots electric shook-like pain or numbness in one or both legs.
Adult-acquired scoliosis causes back and legs pain due to nerve impairment and muscle fatigue leading to a condition known as lumbar stenosis. It is more common in adults above the age of 65. It can also cause spinal deformity. Lying down helps relieve back pain and reduces discomfort.
The diagnosis of degenerative scoliosis takes several steps. The doctors ask questions regarding the area and specificity of pain. They also observe the back region including shoulders, neck, and hips of the patients in different postures. Other procedures also aid in diagnosis. This includes X-rays, magnetic resonance, and computed tomography. These tests reveal detail information of spinal cord and spinal nerves showing the degree of spinal curvature and overall alignment.
The treatment of degenerative scoliosis depends upon several factors. If the condition is not serious, the patients are recommended non-surgical treatments. This may include:
- Physical therapy to strengthen the muscles
- Anti-inflammatory injections directly onto the affected area to reduce swelling and pain
- Medications usually non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
- A minimal amount of physical activity and complete rest
However, if the condition is serious and symptoms don’t improve through other methods, most physicians suggest spinal surgery.