Affecting approximately six to nine million individuals within the United States, and an additional three million annually, scoliosis has long affected the world’s population, regardless of age. While a majority of scoliosis cases have been diagnosed within the younger population, one form of the ailment has gone undetected for years. Adult degenerative scoliosis affects at least 60% of all seniors over the age of 60, yet this form of scoliosis is rarely reported. Adult degenerative scoliosis or ADS is a disorder in which the vertebrae of a person’s spinal column deteriorate over time.
Unlike other forms of scoliosis, the onset of ADS can be sudden and develop rather quickly, sometimes in less than a year. There are multiple forms of ADS, ranging from mild to chronic symptoms, making the ailment difficult to detect. Similar to other forms of scoliosis, the recommended treatment for ADS is generally chiropractic exercises and adjustments. As ADS progresses within your body, you may soon require a back brace to correct your spinal column and alleviate a few symptoms. It is no doubt that ADS is a difficult condition to live with and the key to successful treatment is consistency. By obtaining high-quality care from the right medical professional, you may find living with ADS much easier. Before self-diagnosing (you should only self-diagnose if you plan to follow-up with the appropriate medical professional afterward), it is important to understand what causes ADS.
The answer to this is not simple, as there are plenty of reasons why an individual may develop ADS. ADS has been found to impact mainly adults over the age of 18, however, it is also quite common in children and adolescents. After the onset of the condition, patients may experience osteoporosis, leading to a lifetime of discomfort. After the vertebrae have been deteriorating for some time, the spinal column eventually slumps, forming a curvature within any side of the spine.
There are typically four causes for the onset of ADS and they are as follow:
- Osteoporosis: While osteoporosis may develop after an individual has developed ADS, it can also function as a cause. Osteoporosis causes vertebrae along the spinal column to lose their strength, making them more susceptible to misalignment. In simpler terms, they may crack or slide from their original positions. If any of this occurs, it can lead to a curvature within the spinal column and directly cause deterioration of the vertebrae.
- Compensation: If your vertebrae are already weak, they may slide from their positions, causing your body to attempt at compensating for this change. The spine will naturally curve to compensate for the misaligned vertebrae and eventually become physically noticeable.
- Genetic factors: Scoliosis has been long known to impact multiple individuals within a family. ADS is in fact, a genetic trait and while it can be avoided, plenty of patients are unaware that the gene runs exists within their family.
- Non-treatment: ADS typically begins as a mild case of scoliosis. With the proper treatment, it can subside and not escalate into a chronic issue. Unfortunately, this is not the case as most patients attempt to correct their curvature before seeing a licensed medical professional. Be aware that leaving a case of ADS untreated can cause more vertebrae to slide out of their positions and form an even worse curvature.
Symptoms and Treatment
Several symptoms accompany ADS, including pain within the hips, knees, or back, slumping, headaches, and limited movement. Often, the pain related to this condition may not exist in the back, but within other areas of the body. Because the spine is being put under pressure, pain waves can be sent to the head, knees, legs, hips, and more. In some cases, patients may experience a sudden “shortness” or find themselves slumping instead of standing up straight. In such cases, ADS is the most common diagnosis. One common misconception that plenty of patients assume is that ADS will eventually dissipate on its own. Unfortunately, this is not the case because as ADS progresses, the condition of your spinal column will deteriorate even further.
As mentioned previously, some options for treatment are chiropractic adjustments, exercises, and back braces. The style of treatment directly depends on the severity of the condition. For instance, exercises may focus on one region along the spine before moving onto a broad approach. Treatment is also broken down into two forms: standard and intensive. While both utilize the same equipment and procedures, intensive care generally progresses faster.
The main goal of treatment is to see improvement. Whether this means viewing a change in symptoms or a reduction in your spine’s curvature, all treatment is aimed at correcting your spinal column. After successful treatment, the patient will be able to walk and move without spinal restrictions. Integrative Chiropractic aims to help you by providing altered treatment to suit your specific needs.
Through spinal correction treatment and rehabilitation, we will assist you at every step of the way until you have fully recovered. Are you ready to take the first step towards a new life? Give us a call at 205-637-1363 and book an appointment today!