The angle of the curve may be small, large, or somewhere in between. But anything that measures more than 10 degrees on an X-ray is considered scoliosis.
Signs and Symptoms of Scoliosis
You might lean a little when you stand. You could also have:
- A visible curve in your back
- Shoulders, a waist, or hips that look uneven
- One shoulder blade that looks bigger
- Ribs that stick out farther on one side of your body than the other
In addition to visible symptoms, scoliosis may lead to:
- Low back pain
- Back stiffness
- Pain and numbness in your legs (from pinched nerves)
- Fatigue due to muscle strain
What causes adult scoliosis?
The cause of adult scoliosis varies depending on the type . The most common form of adult scoliosis is degenerative (spine curves as you age). Adult scoliosis may be a case of pediatric scoliosis that was undiscovered until adulthood. In some cases, adolescent scoliosis may develop symptoms with aging and require treatment. Idiopathic (coming from an unknown cause) scoliosis is usually discovered during growth in childhood or adolescence. When it begins or is found after puberty, it is called adult idiopathic scoliosis because the curve is discovered after complete skeletal growth.
You may not need treatment. Instead, your doctor might watch you and take X-rays once in a while to see if it’s getting worse. Some children grow out of scoliosis.
If you or your child need treatment, your doctor might suggest:
- Braces. In kids who are still growing, wearing a brace around your torso can stop the curve from getting worse. They’re usually made of plastic. Many kids wear them 24 hours a day. You can’t see them under clothes, and they don’t stop you from doing everyday activities.
- Spinal fusion surgery. In this operation, your doctor puts pieces of bone or a similar material between bones in your spine. They use hardware to hold the bones in place until they grow together, or fuse. The surgery can lessen the curve in your spine as well as keep it from getting worse.
- Spine and rib-based growing operation. This is done to correct more serious scoliosis in children who are still growing. The doctor attaches rods to your spine or ribs with hardware. As you grow, the doctor adjusts the length of the rods.
There’s no way to prevent scoliosis. So forget the rumors you may have heard, such as childhood sports injuries causing
Likewise, if your kids are in school, you may be concerned about the weight of the textbooks they carry. While heavy backpacks may cause back, shoulder, and neck pain, they don’t lead to scoliosis.
And what about poor posture? The way a person stands or sits doesn’t affect their chances for scoliosis. But a curved spine may cause a noticeable lean. If your child isn’t able to stand upright, ask your doctor to look at their spine.