Degenerative scoliosis is a spine condition that describes a shift in the spinal alignment, often causing a “C” or “S” shape in the spine. This is due to the natural breakdown of the facet joints and other anatomy in the spine. Because this condition is degenerative in nature, it primarily affects people age 65 and older as the spine weakens with age.
When the vertebrae move out of alignment, they can press against a nearby nerve root, causing pain, numbness, tingling and muscle weakness throughout the lower body.
Common treatment methods for degenerative scoliosis
In many cases, treatment for degenerative scoliosis initially focuses on managing symptoms and improving mobility enough to allow for normal activities to be resumed. These symptoms are treated with nonsurgical therapy consisting of one or more of the following:
- Medication. Many patients are able to manage their scoliosis symptoms by taking over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen. Patients with gastrointestinal or cardiovascular conditions may be advised to take pain medication such as acetaminophen instead of NSAIDs.
- Cryotherapy. Also called cold therapy, cryotherapy entails applying ice to the lower back to help reduce inflammation and numb pain caused by degenerative scoliosis.
- Physical therapy. Working with a physical therapist to strengthen and stretch the muscles in the back can provide the spine with added support and may help relieve some of the pressure that is being placed on the spinal nerve, nerve root or spinal cord.
Doctors will often recommend a combination of conservative treatments, such as pain medication and physical therapy, to help speed up pain relief. You should always consult your doctor before changing or beginning any method of treatment for a spine condition.
When to consider surgery for degenerative scoliosis
While some mild forms of degenerative scoliosis can be treated with conservative care, other more severe cases require spine surgery to relieve nerve compression and/or stabilize the spine.
If you find yourself faced with a decision about spine surgery for your degenerative scoliosis, consider the minimally invasive spine surgery at USA Spine Care that has helped more than 75,000 patients find relief from chronic neck or back pain.
We offer minimally invasive stabilization procedures that can treat symptoms of scoliosis and slow the progression of curvature on an outpatient basis. In fact, our minimally invasive approach to spine surgery allows our patients to experience a shorter recovery time and a lower risk of complication compared to traditional open back surgery. For more information about how our minimally invasive stabilization and minimally invasive decompression procedures can treat degenerative scoliosis, contact USA Spine Care today.
We’ll be happy to provide a free MRI review* to determine if you are a potential candidate for one of our procedures.
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