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Whether you know it or not, back pain is a huge problem in America. According to the numbers provided by the American Chiropractic Association, more than 31 million people in the United States experience back problems at any given moment.

But how many of them experience serious back problems during their life? 

Most people that complain about chronic back problems never suffer any serious consequences from it. Yet, a certain amount of people that have back problems are suffering from scoliosis. In such cases, back braces for scoliosis for adults may be necessary.

What Are the Main Symptoms of Scoliosis?

Scoliosis happens when your spine curves sideways in one or more places. It mainly occurs in young children and teenagers but lots of adults also suffer from scoliosis. In adults, the curve may have existed in their youth and only later progressed or it resulted from a degenerative spinal change or injury.

More often than not, back problems can be attributed to minor problems such as bad posture, muscular strains, or growing pains. In those cases, stretching exercises and pain medications can lessen the pain.

However, when the patient is suffering from scoliosis, the pain stays even after the treatment is done. If the pain you’re experiencing has lasted for a couple of months, the doctor should take your case more seriously. What is the biggest sign of scoliosis?

A person is diagnosed with scoliosis when their spine has a curvature greater than 10 degrees. Before the doctor even gets to check the degree of your curvature, he will check for these symptoms:

  • If one of your shoulders seems higher than the other shoulder
  • If one of your shoulder blades is sticking out at a weird angle
  • Do you lean on either the left or the right side when you stand
  • Does one of your legs seem shorter than the other when you lie down
  • Is your head slightly tilted to either the left or the right side
  • Is one of your hips sticking out more than the other hip
  • Are your ribs looking crooked or uneven a bit
  • Do you have a rib hump on either side of your body

How Medical Professionals Diagnose Scoliosis

According to the Scoliosis Research Society, three main ways to diagnose scoliosis are:

  • Observations: For starters, the doctor will observe the patient’s spine in different positions. If there are any noticeable changes to the shape of the spine while the patient is standing or walking, the doctor will examine things more closely. 
  • Scoliometer: The area that shows the signs of scoliosis will be examined further with the use of a scoliometer. The device will give the doctor a reading of the patient’s spinal curvature and in turn, show if there are any serious signs of scoliosis. 
  • X-Rays: After the physical portion of the examination is done, the patient gets an X-ray of the entire spine. The X-ray will show any spinal curves. If there are any, the doctor will measure them using the Cobb measuring method. 

A 10-degree curve is considered scoliosis, however, this curve is considered pretty mild. If the curve has reached 25 degrees, the doctor will prescribe a treatment and if needed, subject the patient to surgery. Often, scoliosis bracing will be required. 

How Can You Treat Scoliosis?

Once the doctor establishes that the patient is suffering from scoliosis, they need to work together to determine the best way to treat the condition.

The treatment depends on several factors:

  • The age of the patient their medical history
  • The type of scoliosis they’re suffering from
  • The measurement of the back curvature
  • How much pain the patient is experiencing

Treating children for scoliosis is more common than treating adults, however, it’s also more complicated. When treating a child, the doctor has to take into consideration how much more they are going to grow. Other things to be considered are limited body functions and breathing problems.

1. Observing the Patient
9 out of 10 of scoliosis cases are considered mild. These cases don’t require any serious treatment. Most often, the doctor gives the patient stretching and posture exercises and observes them for the next few months. Only when the patient doesn’t show any signs of improvement, the doctor takes further action.

2. Using a Back Brace
When a child’s spinal curve measured between 20 and 40 degrees, the doctor will recommend scoliosis bracing. The brace will stop the curve from getting worse, but it won’t correct it. The goal of wearing scoliosis bracing is to stop the curve so the patient doesn’t need surgery in the future.

​3. Performing a Surgery
If the curve hoes beyond 50 degrees, the doctor will recommend an operation. During the procedure, the small spinal bones are curved and fused. As the back heals, the spine will become straight again. The operation requires a bone graft and can last anywhere between 4 and 8 hours.

How to Treat Adults with Degenerative Scoliosis

Can you develop scoliosis later in life? Yes, it’s called novo scoliosis, but it very rare. Common symptoms amongst adults suffering from scoliosis are:

  • A large, visible bulge in the back.
  • A noticeable asymmetry in the trunk.
  •  Constant pain due to spinal nerve compression.

​How do you treat scoliosis in adults? Is the treatment any different than the one children and young adults go through? There are some similarities but scoliosis in adults doesn’t require any surgical procedures.

Some of the treatments include:

  • Losing and maintaining weight.
  • Improving your posture.
  • Using nonsteroidal drugs against muscle inflammation.
  • Physical therapy for increasing muscle strength.

If this fails to help, and the patient continues to feel pain, the doctor may prescribe steroid injections. The steroids are injected into the patient’s facet joints where the vertebrae meet across the spine. These injections will lessen the pain by decreasing inflammation.

Are There Any Alternatives?

Chiropractic and supplemental treatments can help scoliosis patients with pain relief. Electrical therapy can be helpful too. However, none of these treatments will solve the problem entirely.

We can help you with an adult scoliosis brace. But in serious cases, surgery is the only solution.

It’s helpful if the patient is physically active, both before and after the procedure. Walking, jogging, and running will keep the bones healthy and the spine straight, especially as you grow older.

Call us to discuss scoliosis bracing.