How Do Doctors Approach Treating Scoliosis in Adults Who Have Just Been Diagnosed?

Scoliosis is a sideways curvature on the spine. The condition is witnessed in adolescents and kids. However, many adults have also been diagnosed with a lateral curve that they had during their younger days. The condition can also be new, which may be triggered by osteoporosis and degenerative changes on the spine.

Scoliosis mainly affects the spine on the cervical spine (neck), Lumbar spine (lower back), and thoracic spine (upper back region and chest region). Scoliosis in adults is diagnosed using various symptoms. When the condition intensifies, patients experience excruciating pain. This leads patients to seek urgent medical care.

Pain is related to the curve, which decompresses the spinal nerves. When the nerves get inflamed, the patient experiences pain in the legs and consistent numbness, which makes them weak, making it challenging to walk or stand for long hours.

The other symptom is a bulge at the back. It’s also associated with a lot of pain. The deformity is always visible from the back as muscles strain to rotate. The other symptoms include quick fatigue or short breaths, loss of height, and premature hunger satiety.

Adults can be diagnosed with Scoliosis through;

  • An X-ray is taken when you bend to evaluate the flexibility of the spine
  • A physical examination
  • An X-ray is taken from the sideways and front while the patient is standing.

Scoliosis can only be declared when the curve on the spine exceeds 10 degrees. However, before adults are diagnosed and treated, the curve typically exceeds 30 degrees. The X-ray and physical examination techniques are also used to evaluate and asses the signs of compression of the spinal canal, which is also referred to as spinal stenosis.

If the condition is affecting the patients breathing, additional tests may be ordered. In some cases, severe Scoliosis may develop heart illnesses that require additional medical specialists.

Treatment of Scoliosis in Adults

Nonsurgical Treatments

In most cases, this condition is treated non-operatively. Several adults experience remarkable relief. The pain significantly subsides. Non-Operation techniques to solve Scoliosis include:

  • Activity modification
  • Postural training
  • Weight maintenance
  • Physical therapy to elevate core muscle tissue strength
  • Pain medication i.e., nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs

Adult patients that consistently experience nerve pain may be administered with steroid injections around the facet joints. Steroid injections neutralize pain and reduce inflammation. An epidural can also be used to deliver medication. This is an exercise where the injection needle is carefully inserted in the spine to deliver drugs to the affected nerve root.

Surgical Treatment

Surgery is only recommended for a selected category of patients. They include those who:

  • Experience worsening neurological functioning
  • Those that fail to respond to non-operative treatment
  • Those that have curves exceeding 50 degrees with the risk of a permanent impairment

The most common types of surgeries offered to adult patients are artificial implants. The procedure entails the orthopedic surgeon making an incision at the back and then repairs the vertebrae installing bone chips. The bone chips may be Allografts that are sourced from donors that are stored in a bone bank. The other chip maybe Autografts that are acquired from the patient’s body.

The healing process is gradual. It may take up to twenty-four months or even more. Screws, rods, and other implants might be implemented to hold the spine alignment in position during the healing period. Once the fusion is completed, the implants serve no purpose. However, they are left intact to avoid another lengthy surgery.

The nature of the curve may require the orthopedic surgeon to carry out a fusion both at the back and front of the patient’s body. The procedure is conducted as a single operation. Adults that have rigid and large curves may trigger the surgeon to perform osteotomies. This is an operation where all stiff segments are released.

Patients with thoracolumbar and lumbar curves maybe be subjected to thoracoscopic lateral assess operation. This is where incisions are made from the flank. For anterior and posterior approaches, instruments are used to correct the curve and stop the spine from rotating.

Thoracoscopic is advantageous since it involves short fusions and small incisions which preserve the mobility of the spine.

Before surgeries are carried out, the orthopedic surgeon reviews the benefits and risks with each patient. The patient’s age is put into consideration together with their medical history. The presence of other medical conditions can be a stumbling block for surgery.

Such conditions include;

  • Kyphosis
  • Osteoporosis
  • Arthritis

Surgical procedures are always successful. However, younger and more energetic patients experience proper healing. The treatment of Scoliosis is a reality and can successfully be conducted. You should reach out to us, and we will diagnose and treat the condition. Contact us at 205-637-1363.

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