5 Surprising Facts About How Adult Scoliosis Affects Your Health

For many, scoliosis isn't discovered until adulthood. And usually it's symptoms are not obvious. Learn 5 facts about the...

Scoliosis describes the excessive curving of the spine. Your spine already has natural curves to it. Scoliosis occurs when the spine curves from side to side.

Adult scoliosis occurs when the spines curves after it is fully developed. So, the adult is done growing and the spine curves after growth.

Many adults will some form of scoliosis and never know. They are the fortunate ones.  Many can manage it without significant medical interventions.

Learn more about adult scoliosis and how it can affect your life.

1. Two Types of Adult Scoliosis

There are many adults who have mild scoliosis and never even know it. Scoliosis is defined by anyone who has a curve in the spine of 10 degrees or higher.

There are two types of scoliosis in adults. These are Adult Idiopathic Scoliosis and Degenerative Scoliosis.

Adult Idiopathic Scoliosis is an adult scoliosis that has been present since either childhood or teenage years and continues into adulthood.

Degenerative scoliosis is a form of scoliosis that shows up in adulthood. As discs in the spine degenerate, perhaps because of posture, or an accident or even child birth, these discs can tilt and cause the curve.

The disc degenerating means it loses height and turns itself. Adults with this form of scoliosis are likely to notice they are getting shorter over time.

2. Symptoms Versus Cure

Scoliosis pain in adults will first be addressed with nonsurgical options like physical therapy to strengthen a patient's core or chiropractic care to push the vertebrae back into place.  

Patients are also encouraged to use exercise and stretching to strengthen their core and back.  However, many exercise improperly, not knowing that they are worsening their curvature.  

3. Surgery? Probably Not

Only if nonsurgical options don't work (which is often the case) and the symptoms are severe will surgery be an option. Surgeons use rods and screws to help align the spine and prevent a worsening of the curve.   This approach is very disruptive to the patient's general welfare.  

Surgery is, once again, treating the symptoms, but it does not help in understanding the pathology.

4. Treatment

There are few traditional options for adult scoliosis treatments.

  • Over the counter pain medications can be used to manage pain.
  • Daily stretching and living an active lifestyle are encouraged.
  • For chronic pain not relieved by other treatments, patients might get a spinal epidural.

5. Exercise Can Be Good

While treatments do exist,  knowledge is paramount to overall success.  Learning how scoliosis affects your breathing can help you re-establish some control over your experience.

Swimming, General yoga and pilates are effective in strengthening and stretching the body. Yoga also helps to improve your posture which also helps in the treatment of scoliosis.  

Yoga therapy is much more specific and targeted to your unique scoliosis.  Because scoliosis produces asymmetric challenges in the spine, it is critical that the spine be treated in a way that counterbalances the excessive curves and rotations that come with the diagnosis.

Don't Let Adult Scoliosis Hold You Back

Adult scoliosis can be a manageable condition but be sure to do your homework. Insure that your doctor is knowledgeable and experienced in working with others who have scoliosis.  

Consider Therapeutic yoga as part of your plan to make your scoliosis manageable. Let us help you strengthen your body in a way that keeps the curve from worsening.  Learn to breathe into the compressed areas of your chest.  Let us assess your posture by taking your photo in front of a professional Posture Grid.  Contact us today to get started building a more functional body for yourself.

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