For years, spine surgeons have debated the best methods for treating scoliosis in adults. Spinal curvature often results in more back pain, leg pain and other symptoms for adults than teens because adults also can have degeneration in the discs between vertebrae, and spinal stenosis — a narrowing of the opening for the spinal nerves. To help answer that question, doctors at nine centers in North America followed more than adults who had discomfort due to lumbar scoliosis — deformities affecting the lower part of the spine.
Everyone's spine has subtle natural curves. But some people have different curves, side-to-side spinal curves that also twist the spine. This condition is called "scoliosis".
The surgical treatment of adult scoliosis still presents many points of discussion. Decision-making on the type of treatment is mandatory to evaluate all the possible alternatives to surgery. From January to December49 cases of adult degenerative scoliosis and kyphoscoliosis were surgically treated.
Credit: Getty Images. Spinal curvature often results in more back pain, leg pain, and other symptoms for adults than teens because adults also can have degeneration in the discs between vertebrae, and spinal stenosis—a narrowing of the opening for the spinal nerves. To help answer that question, doctors at nine centers in North America followed more than adults who had discomfort due to lumbar scoliosis—deformities affecting the lower part of the spine.
It was obvious since my teen years that my back was crooked. Over the years, I had periodic episodes of back pain that were treated with bed rest, physical therapy and medications. It wasn't until about that back pain really began to limit my activities.
T he number of surgical treatment options for skeletally mature patients with spine deformities has expanded over the past several decades. Unfortunately, randomized controlled trials comparing operative with nonoperative management are lacking. Investigators have used varying classifications of clinical outcomes and procedure-related complications, making analysis of the literature difficult.
OBJECT: Appreciation of the optimal management of skeletally mature patients with spinal deformities requires understanding of the natural history of the disease relative to expected outcomes of surgical intervention. Appropriate outcome measures are necessary to define the surgical treatment. Unfortunately, the literature lacks prospective randomized data.
There are two kinds of degenerative scoliosis, scoliosis that started during childhood or teenage years and continues to get worse when the patient is an adult. The other type is scoliosis that happens when a person is in their 50s or older. The curve usually develops in the lumbar spine lower back and is often shorter and less severe than in scoliosis that occurs during childhood or adolescence. The second type of degenerative scoliosis also known as de novo tends to develop because of uneven wear and tear of the discs, causing twisting of the spine and a side curvature.
Scoliosis — a lateral or sideways curvature of the spine in one or more places — is most frequently seen in children and adolescents. However, adults may also be diagnosed with scoliosis, either when a curve that existed in their youth progresses, or as a de novo newly diagnosed condition that can result from degenerative changes in the spine and osteoporosis. Figures Progression of adult scoliosis from age 14 top left to age 46 lower right.