The Align Clinic Blog
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Scoliosis is one of the most common conditions among adolescents in the world. According to Paul Sponseller, M.D., nearly 3 million new scoliosis cases are registered every year, in the US alone. What most people fail to realize is that scoliosis is a serious disease that affects people of all ages, genders, and races. Today, we’re going to talk about adult patients, the importance of recognizing early signs of the condition, and how scoliosis bracing for adults can help you deal with it seamlessly.
What’s Adult Scoliosis?
Adult scoliosis, just like any other type, is a condition in which the patient's spine rotates at an unnatural level and develops a side-to-side curve. Observed from the back, the curve looks either like the letter “S” or the letter “C.” These curves can be as mild as 10 degrees and as harsh 90 degrees.
When it comes to adults, there are two common types of scoliosis:
• Idiopathic, a continuation of adolescent scoliosis that has remained undetected
• Degenerative, in which the spine curves slowly, due to degeneration of discs
Are there any differences between adult and teenage scoliosis? There are more than a few. Adult scoliosis takes longer to discover. But it also takes longer to progress, which makes it less dangerous. A scoliosis brace for adults is the most common method of treatment.
The treatment of adult scoliosis also doesn’t depend on the severity of the curve like teen scoliosis. The treatment of adult scoliosis is usually geared toward slowing the progress of the curve and relieving the symptoms, instead of fixing it. Speaking of treatment, let’s talk about it.
How Do You Treat Adult Scoliosis?
Of course, your treatment heavily depends on the type of scoliosis you’re experiencing and the severity of the symptoms. Most cases are mild and require nothing more than a scoliosis brace for adults and perhaps a couple of exercises. Rare cases are so hard that they require surgical attention.
However, things can be a bit more complicated. Adult scoliosis can be tricky to treat due to the fact that it’s harder to spot. Recent studies have shown that nearly two-thirds of mild scoliosis cases in adults remain unnoticed for the first few years. Even severe cases are not diagnosed for years in 10% of cases.
What’s worse, back pain is one of the most common symptoms of scoliosis. However, back pain can occur due to multiple reasons including poor posture, lack of exercise, as well as arthritis. And if the pain the patient feels is trivial, they may not visit a doctor for years.
Early Signs of Adult Scoliosis
Unlike children, adults can go living for years, or even decades, without realizing they have scoliosis. Once they do find out, the curvature may become so great that it causes additional medical problems. That’s why you need to have it diagnosed early. Here are a few signs that occur early on:
1. Your Family Members are Suffering from Scoliosis
Your chances of becoming a scoliosis patient are considerably higher if your close relatives suffer from it. According to AAOS research, around 30% of scoliosis patients have a family history of it. What’s more, out of all factors related with scoliosis, genetics account for almost 40%. Things like birth defects, surpassing growth spurts, and childhood trauma can also contribute to developing scoliosis. In short, if any of your family members suffered from scoliosis, it would be wise to go for a checkup.
2. Uneven Shoulders and Strange Posture
Certain signs of scoliosis can be quite visible and can be observed without seeing a doctor. One of those signs can be seen in one’s posture. Even people who deal with mild cases have their shoulders and hips seem off-center while they’re standing in place. Fortunately, this can even be adjusted during treatment. Scoliosis braces for adults help keep your body looking well-adjusted and allow you to wear anything you want, without worrying about the fit.
3. Old Clothes Not Fitting Properly Anymore
Another visibly obvious sign of scoliosis is the way your old clothes fit you. Even if you didn’t gain or lose any weight, scoliosis may have your clothes looking off kilter. When your shoulder drops due to scoliosis, one of your shirt sleeves may appear longer than the other. Your neckline may also appear crooked and one of the pant legs may hang so low that it touches the ground.
4. Feeling Fatigued After Short Physical Activities
While this may seem a bit surprising, feeling exhausted may also be a sign of scoliosis. As the scoliosis gets worse, your body tries to adjust to it. As the curve becomes more pronounced, your body will make your back muscles work harder to keep your body as balanced as possible. A scoliosis brace for adults can also help you with this by keeping the muscles under pressure and keeping the spine in place.
Seek Treatment for Adult Scoliosis Now
Even though most scoliosis cases are easy to solve, if you ignore the problem completely, the condition will worsen over time. If the situation goes out of hand, you might even end up needing a surgery, which may keep you immobilized during the recovery and unable to work and function for weeks.
That’s why you need to recognize it early and handle the problem easily. Using a back brace for scoliosis, adults can solve the problem in just a few months without compromising their job or lifestyle.
Now that you know all about early signs of scoliosis you’ll be able to notice them early on, get a scoliosis brace for adults on time, and handle the problem easily. If you do recognize any of the signs we described above, don’t be afraid to contact our main office to set up a spine checkup.