Scoliosis is associated with childhood, but it’s most often diagnosed in adolescence. And it’s not just a problem for teens; it affects nearly 9% of adults. Benjamin Cohen, MD, has extensive experience evaluating scoliosis and determining the best course of treatment for each patient based on their symptoms and the severity of their curvature. If you need a spine evaluation or treatment for scoliosis, schedule an appointment online or call the office in Garden City, New York.
Scoliosis is an abnormal sideways curvature of the spine. If you look at the spine from behind, it normally follows a straight line. When you have scoliosis, it forms a C- or S-shaped curve. In severe cases, the spine may also twist or rotate.
The spinal curvature is most likely to develop during the growth spurt that occurs before puberty. As a result, scoliosis is typically diagnosed in adolescents aged 10-15.
In adolescents, about 80-85% of all cases of scoliosis are idiopathic, which means an underlying cause can’t be identified. When a cause is determined, it’s often due to a congenital deformity or a neuromuscular condition such as cerebral palsy.
Adults develop a degenerative form of scoliosis. Over years of wear and tear, spinal joints deteriorate, discs degenerate, and arthritis and osteoporosis may develop. These conditions weaken the vertebrae and cause an abnormal spinal curvature called degenerative scoliosis.
Adolescents with mild scoliosis seldom experience pain or discomfort. However, they may develop body asymmetry, as scoliosis makes their shoulders, waistline, and hips uneven. Scoliosis can limit their ability to bend and twist. A severe curvature may cause painful muscle spasms or make their body lean to one side.
The symptoms of degenerative scoliosis in adults range from mild to severe, depending on the severity of the underlying condition. Most adults experience stiffness and pain that can be debilitating when a nerve is pinched.
Mild cases of scoliosis typically need little to no treatment. When the curvature exceeds 40-50°, Dr. Cohen talks with you about stabilization surgery to prevent further progression and to help reduce pain. During stabilization surgery, metallic implants straighten and hold the spine in place.
Between no treatment at all and ultimately surgery, adults with scoliosis may find pain relief from other options such as physical therapy and medication to reduce inflammation. It’s also important to treat underlying conditions like osteoporosis.
When your curvature or pain is severe enough to require surgery, the type of procedure depends on the underlying problems in your spine. Dr. Cohen may perform spinal decompression, spinal fusion, or spinal reconstruction.
If you have spinal curvature, schedule an appointment online or call Benjamin Cohen, MD.