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While scoliosis isn’t curable, there are a variety of treatment options that can improve your condition, reduce pain and prevent deformity. At Citrus Spine Institute, our team specializes in diagnosing and treating scoliosis. Our treatment plans are designed to improve our patients’ quality of life and provide the relief they’ve been seeking.
Scoliosis can be present at birth or develop over time, and can result from various factors such as genetics, spinal infection, traumatic injury, disorders, and more. Adult onset scoliosis (also known as degenerative scoliosis) is attributed to the degeneration that comes along with aging.
The three main types of scoliosis are idiopathic scoliosis, neuromuscular scoliosis and congenital scoliosis.
Symptoms of scoliosis include uneven shoulders, ribcage and hips, a compensatory gait and asymmetrical posture. Some may experience chronic pain in the lower back and extremities and for others, scoliosis can be disabling.
If you’re experiencing symptoms of scoliosis or notice them in your child, consult with your doctor or a spinal specialist to get an official diagnosis and understand the severity of your condition.
During the diagnosis process, your doctor may ask detailed questions about your family and medical history. Since scoliosis may develop during the growth spurt prior to puberty, when diagnosing your child, your doctor may ask about recent growth.
To confirm a diagnosis of scoliosis, your doctor may conduct a series of tests or scans.
While both MRI and CT scans can be used to get a better view of the spine and confirm a scoliosis diagnosis, they can also be used to discover other issues causing the curvature such as a growth or tumor.
After a diagnosis of scoliosis is confirmed, your doctor may conduct further tests to determine the curve’s location, shape and degree. A C-type curvature occurs when the spine has a single curve, creating a “C” shape. Those diagnosed with an S-type curvature have two curves in their spine.
While scoliosis isn’t curable, the right treatment plan can help you prevent its progression and improve spinal alignment. Mild cases of scoliosis don’t usually require surgery, and instead, a conservative treatment plan can be implemented. Your doctor may suggest chiropractic modalities or physical therapy to support and stabilize your spine.
A brace may be suggested to stop the curve’s progression, and are typically recommended for children as their bones are still developing. For pain relief, your doctor may suggest an epidural steroid injection or facet injection — a minimally invasive procedure designed to alleviate pain and inflammation.
Depending on the severity, extent and type of deformity, surgery may be recommended. In this surgery, your doctor will correct the deformity by inserting interbody spacers into your spine and use rods and screws to maintain the correction while the fusion heals. This surgery will correct spinal alignment, restore disc height and alleviate pressure and pain.
If you’re experiencing symptoms of scoliosis, schedule a consultation with a spinal specialist to get a correct diagnosis and treatment plan. After your diagnosis, it’s important to follow your treatment plan. Always communicate any changes with your doctor, and schedule regular check-ups to track the progression of your condition so that you can adjust accordingly.
In addition to following your doctor’s recommendations, it’s important to avoid strenuous exercise that puts stress on your back and practice good posture — both of which could cause your condition to progress or increase pain.