Scoliosis is a type of degenerative disease that affects a patient’s spine. This condition occurs when a person’s spinal axis has a three-dimensional deviation. The side-to-side curvature of the spine is caused by the degeneration of the facet joints.
The most common signs and symptoms of this condition are: back pain that comes and goes and leg pain. Feeling less back pain from sitting than standing or walking could also point to scoliosis. Depending on the severity of the condition, scoliosis can be treated with non-invasive treatments, physical therapy, and surgery.
Treatments for Adult Scoliosis
The medications prescribed to treat scoliosis are very similar to those used to treat osteoarthritis. That’s because both conditions are caused by the deterioration of the facet joints, causing inflammation. Scoliosis drugs include Non-steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs or NSAIDs, acetaminophen, and ibuprofen.
Also known as facet injections, epidural shots contain a concentrated dose of anti-inflammatory drugs or numbing agent that dull the pain caused by a curved spine. The numbing agent or anti-inflammatory drug is injected directly to the affected area, decreasing acute inflammation quickly.
Surgery is only meant as a last resort for treating degenerative scoliosis. A surgeon will correct the patient’s spine through a major operation. This procedure is often recommended to children with severe cases of scoliosis to prevent the condition from worsening.
A patient will go through physical therapy to gently correct the spine’s curvature. The therapy includes exercises, stretches, and flexibility activities that are designed to keep the soft tissues and joint limber. A physical therapist will also guide the patient into completing every movement.
Water therapy or pool therapy is similar to physical therapy. The program features flexibility exercises and stretching to correct severe curvature of the spine. But as the name implies, this program is conducted in a swimming pool. The water eases stress on the spine, alleviating pain temporarily.
A qualified chiropractor will manipulate the soft tissues and the facet joints to ease the pain, correct the spinal position, and reduce inflammation. The treatment also helps bring the spine to its natural position.
Cold therapy utilizes ice packs to numb the painful point of the spine. The ice pack also reduces inflammation temporarily. Using a combination of cold and heat therapy also helps ease pain significantly.
A brace is not meant to treat the condition but it could slow down the progression of scoliosis and its effects. Braces are meant to reduce the need for surgery. As long as your spine stays at about 25 to 40 degrees, surgery is not needed.
A brace should be worn every day and night to gently ease the spine back to its natural position. Under your doctor’s recommendation, you will wear the brace less and less until the position of the spine is corrected.
The concept of utilizing Pilates for treating scoliosis is the same as physical therapy. A series of stretching and low-impact exercises are completed to stretch and strengthen the spine. The movements are slow, controlled and deliberate so they do not put too much strain on the spine.