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Scoliosis: Answers to 18 of the Most Common Questions

People who have or know someone with scoliosis of the spine often have many questions.  Below are some of the most common questions, brief answers, and links to more in depth resources. 

What is Scoliosis of the Spine?

Scoliosis is a sideways curvature of the spine that occurs most often during the growth spurt just before puberty.

Scoliosis - Symptoms and causes - Mayo Clinic

What is the Cause of Scoliosis?

Doctors don't know what causes the most common type of scoliosis — although it appears to involve hereditary factors, because the disorder tends to run in families. Less common types of scoliosis may be caused by neuromuscular conditions, such as cerebral palsy or muscular dystrophy.

Scoliosis - Symptoms and causes - Mayo Clinic

Is Scoliosis Hereditary

Is Scoliosis Hereditary or Genetic? Strong evidence suggests that scoliosis runs in families. Nearly a third of patients with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis have a family history of the condition, and first-degree relatives of scoliosis patients have an 11 percent chance of developing it themselves

Is Scoliosis Hereditary, Genetic or Environmental? - ScoliSMART

 

Does Idiopathic Scoliosis Occur in Adults?

Scoliosis is defined as a curve of the spine of 10 degrees. Adult scoliosis is broadly defined as a curve in your spine of 10 degrees or greater in a person 18 years of age or older. ... Adult Idiopathic Scoliosis patients have had scoliosis since childhood or as a teenager and have grown into adulthood.

Adult Scoliosis: Conditions & Diagnoses - UCLA Spine Center

 

Can Scoliosis get worse in Adulthood?

Most cases of scoliosis are mild, involving small curves in the spine that do not get worse. Small curves usually do not cause pain or other problems. Usually a doctor examines the child every 4 to 6 months to watch for any changes. In moderate or severe cases of scoliosis, the curves continue to get worse.

Scoliosis - What Happens When You Have Scoliosis: Healthwise ..

 

What is scoliosis of the neck?

Scoliosis - a lateral (or sideways) curve of the spine in one or more places - is most frequently seen in children and adolescents. ... Scoliosis can affect the spine in three sections: the cervical (neck), thoracic (chest region), and lumbar (lower back).

Scoliosis in Adults: An Overview - HSS

 

Can Scoliosis cause pain?

Most of the time scoliosis does not cause pain in children or teens. When back painis present with scoliosis, it may be because the curve in the spine is causing stress and pressure on the spinal discs, nerves, muscles, ligaments, or facet joints. It is not usually caused by the curve itself.

Scoliosis-Symptoms - WebMD

 

Can scoliosis cause migraine headaches?

Can Scoliosis Cause Headaches? ... Up to 50% of headaches can be attributed to neck problems[1]. Chronic headaches with neck pain usually involve a nerve pressure (subluxation) condition within the neck.

Scoliosis Pain Relief – Scoliosis and Headaches | Hudson Valley ...

 

Can scoliosis cause pain in the ribs?

These include lung and heart problems, as well as chronic pain in your spine, shoulder blades, and ribs. In regards to scoliosis, most cases are mild. However, severescoliosis can cause back pain and difficulty breathing. ... Your uneven rib cage may leave you feeling twisted around, but have no fear.Apr 7, 2015

Uneven rib cage | Go Ask Alice!

 

Can sciatica be caused by scoliosis?

While it's possible for scoliosis to cause pain in the sciatic nerve, such cases are unusual. More commonly, patients develop sciatica-like leg pain due to their postural imbalance. Or, in rare instances, the sciatica can even be the underlying cause of the scoliosis.

Is Scoliosis Related to Sciatica Pain? - ScoliSMART

 

Is scoliosis curable?

Orthopedic surgeons or neurosurgeons are often consulted if surgery is needed. The prognosis for an individual with scoliosis ranges from mainly good to fair, depending on how early the problem is diagnosed and treated. There is no cure for scoliosis, but the symptoms can be reduced.

Scoliosis Symptoms, Treatment & Surgery - MedicineNet

 

What is a mild case of scoliosis?

Mild scoliosis is a term used to categorize cases of scoliosis that the orthopedic and medical community do not believe require treatment. ... It is also possible for mild scoliosis to cause pain and other health problems. Traditionally mild scoliosis is “treated” with observation.

Mild Scoliosis | CLEAR Scoliosis Institute

 

What degree of scoliosis requires treatment?

Brace treatment is generally used to prevent scoliosis from getting worse when you have:

  • A curve that is moderate in size (20 to 40 degrees) AND

  • A curve that is progressive (has increased by more than 5 degrees) OR

  • A curve that is over 30 degrees when first diagnosed AND

  • A lot of growing yet to do

Nonsurgical Treatment Options for Scoliosis-OrthoInfo - AAOS

 

 

Can you fix scoliosis?

Scoliosis Surgery. Surgery to correct adult scoliosis is an option when nonsurgical treatments do not relieve pain or symptoms. Surgery is also needed for progressive curves or curves causing nerve compression with symptoms such as numbness, weakness, or pain.

Surgical / Non-surgical Adult Scoliosis Treatments - VA, DC, MD

 

What are the symptoms of scoliosis in adults?

Adult patients may have a variety of symptoms, which can lead to gradual loss of function:

  • Low back pain and stiffness are the 2 most common symptoms.

  • Numbness, cramping, and shooting pain in the legs due to pinched nerves.

  • Fatigue results from strain on the muscles of the lower back and legs.

Adult Idiopathic Scoliosis - Scoliosis Research Society

 

Can You Reverse Scoliosis with Exercise?

Scoliosis may range from a mild curvature that needs no treatment to a severe abnormality that may require bracing or spinal surgery. Exercises may help in managing or, to some degree, reversing the effects of scoliosis. However, consult with your health care provider for the best way to treat your scoliosis.

Can You Reverse Scoliosis with Exercise? | LIVESTRONG.COM

 

Can you treat scoliosis without surgery?

Scoliosis Treatment. ... Depending on the degree of curvature and the patient's age, one of three options is generally recommended: do nothing (in cases of mild curvature), wear a scoliosis brace (for mild to moderate curvature when the child is still growing), or undergo scoliosis surgery (in moderate to severe cases).

Natural Scoliosis Care Avoids Braces, Surgery or Wait-and-See

 

Are there different types of abnormal spine curvature?

There are three main types of spine curvature disorders, including:

  • Lordosis. Also called swayback, the spine of a person with lordosis curves significantly inward at the lower back.

  • Kyphosis. Kyphosis is characterized by an abnormally rounded upper back (more than 50 degrees of curvature).

  • Scoliosis. A person with scoliosis has a sideways curve to their spine. The curve is often S-shaped or C-shaped.

Spine Curvature Disorders: Lordosis, Kyphosis, Scoliosis, and More

 

 

Keywords:

Scoliosis treatment, Scoliosis pain, Scoliosis treatments, Scoliosis bracing, Scoliosis brace, Scoliosis exercises, Scoliosis in adults, Scoliosis surgery

 

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About the Author

Dr. John B. Adams is board certified in Pain Management by the American Board of Medical Specialties and the American Board of Interventional Pain Physicians. With almost 2 decades of experience, he offers patients access to state-of-the-art pain management, emphasizing a multidisciplinary approach to pain management utilizing precision injections, neuromodulation technology, physical therapy, behavioral medicine and judicious use of medications including help with patients titrating off opiates (narcotic pain medications).

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