Scoliosis is a medical condition where the spine twists and curves to the side. It is most commonly found in children between the ages of 10 and 15, although it can affect people of any age. The good news is that scoliosis is rarely a sign of anything serious and most incidents can be treated, although a cure is not yet possible.
The signs of scoliosis are the same in children and adults:
- Visibly curvature of the spine
- The upper half of the body leans to one side
- A shoulder or hip juts out from the rest of the body
- Ribs also lean to one side
- Difficulty finding clothes to fit properly
It should be noted that back pain is also common but only in adults. This is probably due to the fact the spine has finished growing and scoliosis places an additional strain on the bones. It can also be due to bone damage which is more evident thanks to the curvature of the back
Additional symptoms are often present in adults, including
- Bump in the lower part of your back
- Weakness in legs, possibly even numbness
- Issues walking or standing straight
- Reduction in height
- Feeling out of breath
- Bone sours appearing on the spine
The good news is that once you have identified the issue there are several things you can do to help resolve scoliosis.
The most important first step is to see a specialist. While your regular doctor can confirm the suspicion of scoliosis, you will need to see a spine surgeon to have the diagnosis confirmed and to discuss the best options available to you.
Scoliosis in adults is generally painful. This is because it is a result of wear and tear on the spine, causing discs to tilt and creating curvature. The curve of your spine is likely to increase as you age, making it more difficult to undertake simple tasks.
This places additional strain on the back and the surrounding muscles, you will feel this as aches and pains. It is common to take over-the-counter painkillers. If necessary, your doctor can prescribe something stronger.
Research is ongoing regarding whether exercise can help to alleviate the symptoms of scoliosis. However, there is little doubt that exercise is good for your general health and strengthening your back won’t do any harm.
Your spinal surgeon may also recommend spinal injections. These are steroids that can reduce inflammation in your spine and eliminate the pressure being placed on your nerves. In effect, you will get relief from the pain and numbness, allowing you to enjoy a better quality of life.
This is a common approach to straighten the spine in children. It is rarely used in adults but is an option to help support your spine and perhaps stop the condition from getting worse.
There are several surgical options available if the curve is significant, you have severe pain, or your nerves are getting squashed. Again, you will need to speak to your spinal consultant regarding the best procedure for you.