Finding relief from degenerative scoliosis symptoms

Scoliosis is a condition in which the spine shifts out of alignment, sometimes caused by the natural degeneration of the spine or sometimes as a birth defect. This condition is characterized by an abnormal curvature of the spine, usually prevalent in the hips or shoulder blades.

Though the condition most commonly arises during adolescence, it can also develop later in life as the spine weakens with age. After years of constant pressure and movement, the facet joints of the spine that connect the vertebrae can wear down, allowing vertebrae to shift to the left or right. As the vertebrae shift, the condition’s signature “S” or “C” curve in the spine can develop.

This form of the condition — called degenerative scoliosis — is most common among individuals age 65 and older and almost always develops in the lumbar spine (lower back).


While some patients with degenerative scoliosis experience no symptoms, others may notice uneven shoulders and hips or that one shoulder blade has become more prominent than the other. If the misaligned vertebrae press against a spinal nerve, nerve root or the spinal cord, the following symptoms of pain can occur:

  • Radiating pain
  • Numbness
  • Tingling
  • Muscle weakness in the lower extremities

In severe cases, some patients with degenerative scoliosis may also have difficulty breathing or with continence. If you lose bladder or bowel control at any point, seek medical attention immediately.

Nonsurgical treatments

Initially, your doctor may recommend a series of conservative treatments to help reduce your symptoms and realign your spine without surgery. This is often achieved with the use of the following treatments:

  • Over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen
  • Cryotherapy
  • Physical therapy
  • Weight loss or other lifestyle changes

If these nonsurgical treatments do not reduce your pain or symptoms after several months, your doctor may recommend spine surgery to help realign your vertebrae and relieve the pressure on your pinched nerve.

Laser Spine Institute

The minimally invasive spine surgery offered at Laser Spine Institute can help treat adult degenerative scoliosis in a safer and effective manner than traditional open back surgery. This is because our procedures do not require a large incision and the cutting of the large muscles that support the spine.

On the contrary, our minimally invasive procedures are performed through a small incision, sometimes less than one inch, and involve no muscle disruption. Because of this minimally invasive approach to the spine, our patients can experience a shorter recovery time^ and lower risk of complication than patients who choose traditional open back surgery.

To treat adult degenerative scoliosis, we offer two types of minimally invasive spine surgeries. While some patients are able to receive a decompression procedure, patients with scoliosis often require the spine to be realigned and then a minimally invasive stabilization surgery (also known as a fusion) to hold the alignment in place to reduce the symptoms of scoliosis.

For more information about the benefits of minimally invasive spine surgery to find relief from degenerative scoliosis, contact Laser Spine Institute today. We can look over your MRI report or CT scan and tell you if you are a candidate for our minimally invasive spine surgery.