There are several treatment options for a scoliosis patient whose spine exhibits a lateral S- or C-shaped curve. While what causes most cases of scoliosis remains undetermined, the condition is believed to result from birth defects, neuromuscular disorders or the natural degeneration that affects the spine over time. Common issues include neck or back pain, uneven shoulders and/or waist, one hip that is higher than the other and one prominent shoulder blade. Spinal curvature may cause impingement of the spinal cord or nerve roots, in which case pain, numbness, tingling and muscle weakness may affect the upper or lower extremities. Treatment for these symptoms will largely be based on a patient’s age, the severity of the curve, the severity of symptoms and other factors.
Most treatment options aim at relieving any discomfort and reducing the risk for curvature progression. Not all patients diagnosed with scoliosis will require treatment, but for those who do, a physician may first recommend several non-surgical options, such as:
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
- Physical therapy
- Manual therapy (chiropractic care, massage, etc.)
If surgery becomes necessary
Depending on the severity of the curvature and related symptoms, a patient of any age may be advised to have surgical scoliosis treatment. A patient’s only surgical option used to be traditional open back fusion, a highly invasive procedure requiring large incisions, muscle dissection and the placement of bulky spine stabilization hardware. Recovery from these types of operations is lengthy and arduous, largely due to the dissection of muscles, ligaments and other soft tissues that support the spine.
However, because of advances in science and surgical technology, some adult patients may be candidates for a minimally invasive alternative to traditional open back fusion. The orthopedic surgeons at Laser Spine Institute have perfected a number of minimally invasive fusion and nerve decompression procedures that can address pinched neural structures and curvature of the lumbar (lower back) spine in adults, without the need to cut surrounding soft tissues.
To learn more about our minimally invasive fusion treatment options for adult lumbar scoliosis, contact Laser Spine Institute.