How to find relief from the symptoms of degenerative scoliosis

Degenerative scoliosis can cause symptoms of back pain and stiffness, as well as visible unevenness between shoulder and hip height in some cases. The condition is most commonly caused by the natural breakdown of the spine that accompanies the natural aging process: The facet joints can become arthritic, the discs can begin to dehydrate and ligaments can start to calcify. These degenerative changes lead to spinal instability that can eventually affect the spine’s natural curvature, leading to the development of degenerative scoliosis.

If you have been diagnosed with degenerative scoliosis and the symptoms are affecting your life to the point that basic everyday activities, like cooking a meal or walking your dog, are being affected, finding relief is very important. Learning more about this condition, including the causes and treatment options, can help you and your doctor better work together to get treatment that returns you to the active, comfortable lifestyle you deserve.

Degenerative scoliosis and pinched nerves

Abnormal curvature of the spine can cause the spinal nerves, nerve roots and even the spinal cord to become compressed. Nerve compression, or a pinched nerve, as the result of degenerative scoliosis causes symptoms such as:

  • Pain
  • Numbness
  • Tingling
  • Muscle weakness

These symptoms of degenerative scoliosis can be experienced in the lower back, hips, buttocks, legs or feet, depending on exactly where the neural compression is located within the back. Degenerative scoliosis symptoms caused by neural compression travel along the length of the affected nerve, which is why the location of symptoms can vary from patient to patient.

Nonsurgical treatments for degenerative scoliosis

Nonsurgical treatment for degenerative scoliosis does not attempt to correct the spine’s unnatural curvature. Rather, treatment addresses the symptoms that occur as the result of neural compression. Nonsurgical, conservative treatments that are commonly prescribed by doctors to relieve the symptoms of degenerative scoliosis include:

  • Over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as naproxen or ibuprofen
  • Physical therapy aided by a licensed professional
  • Hot/cold therapy to bring nutrients to the affected area or reduce swelling
  • Losing weight, quitting smoking and making other lifestyle changes

Treating degenerative scoliosis with surgery

If conservative treatments do not relieve the symptoms of degenerative scoliosis within several weeks or months, a patient might be advised to undergo surgery. Surgical treatment for degenerative scoliosis aims to decompress the affected neural structures, address the spine’s unnatural curvature and restore spinal stability. Laser Spine Institute offers minimally invasive spine surgery as an alternative to traditional open spine surgeries. Since 2005, our procedures have helped more than 75,000 patients find relief from neck or back pain.

Laser Spine Institute’s procedures are performed on an outpatient basis and require a small incision that spares important supporting muscles. This is compared to traditional open spine surgery, which requires hospitalization and a comparatively large, muscle-disrupting incision.

If your physician has recommended surgery to address the symptoms of degenerative scoliosis, contact Laser Spine Institute for a no-cost review of your MRI or CT scan* to determine if you’re a candidate for a minimally invasive procedure.