Can Adults Develop Scoliosis?

Yes, adults develop scoliosis more often than you think. Scoliosis refers to a curvature of the spine, either to the right or left, caused by any of a number of factors. While most scoliosis cases emerge during adolescence, adults may develop scoliosis as well. The exact percentage of adult scoliosis cases is largely unknown because the condition often goes undiagnosed, and in milder cases, it may be misdiagnosed as spinal osteoarthritis.

Types of adult scoliosis

Scoliosis that occurs in adults generally falls into one of two categories. The first, “de novo” or degenerative scoliosis, typically emerges in patients over the age of 60, usually due to the natural degeneration of the spine or discs. The second, adult idiopathic scoliosis, can occur at any time during adulthood. The exact cause of idiopathic scoliosis is still unknown.

Symptoms of adult scoliosis

Usually the first indicator of scoliosis is back pain. You may also notice one of your shoulders sitting higher than the other, one leg extending further than the other or that you tend to lean left or right. In severe cases or in instances where the curvature occurs higher along the spine, scoliosis may cause breathing problems due to crowding of the lung space. Depending on the severity of the case, adult scoliosis can be treated non-surgically with a combination of medication and exercise. If the condition does not improve with conservative treatment, surgery may be necessary.

Only a spinal specialist can determine whether you are suffering from adult scoliosis. To learn more, call Polaris Spine & Neurosurgery Center today at (404) 256-2633.

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