Lumbar Scoliosis Treatment: All You Need to Know

Pain in the lower back is common in adult patients with lumbar scoliosis and, less frequently, in some cases with teenagers. Fortunately, there are several treatments available.

Do you want to know the best forms of lumbar scoliosis treatment? The CLEAR Scoliosis Institute approach offers quick results that don’t require invasive procedures and has helped many patients avoid surgery. In fact, many patients often notice that pain is the first symptom to go away.

In addition, there are quite a few other common symptoms of lumbar scoliosis. For more information, read on. 

Symptoms of Lumbar Scoliosis

Lower back pain is something that many adults have to deal with. Lower back pain can be caused by many different things - one of which is lumbar scoliosis. Getting an exam from a clinician specializing in scoliosis is the only way to know what the problem is; however, most scoliosis cases are idiopathic, meaning the cause is unknown. There are dozens of symptoms that go along with lumbar scoliosis.

Some of the most common physical signs include the following:

  • A nagging cramp in the lower back is a problem that many patients who suffer from scoliosis have to deal with. It usually persists through over-the-counter medication and disrupts sleep cycles.
  • Random sharp pains that go up and down the spine are also common. When discs are moving or shifting in different directions, they can pinch the nerves in your back and cause severe discomfort.
  • Sciatic nerve pain is also a possibility. Due to the nerve pinching from the previous symptom, patients can experience severe numbness that descends into their feet and toes.

If you have lumbar scoliosis, you might also notice that there are a few cosmetic changes as well:

  • A bump in the lower back where the lumbar discs are bulging occurs frequently.
  • Uneven hips and shoulders, i.e., leaning to the left or the right depending on the curvature of the spine.
  • Patients might also experience difficulty while balancing or walking, where they usually wouldn’t.

Lumbar scoliosis might be challenging to detect in a child. 

  • If you notice a difference in the shape of the waist or ribs that push outward, then you should request X-rays from a scoliosis specialist. 
  • A child’s arms should also hang down to the same length, but scoliosis can create an imbalance where one arm appears to hang lower than the other.
  • Adolescence is typically when lumbar scoliosis starts to become more noticeable. 
  • As the spine begins to grow, the curve gets more evident and the aforementioned symptoms often begin to show up.

Adults are much more likely to experience pain when they have lumbar scoliosis. 

In adults, the spine is fully developed, and as time goes on, its discs break down, bulge, and become fragile. The correction becomes increasingly harder as the curve progresses over time.

Self-diagnosing yourself or a family member with lumbar scoliosis is never a good idea. You may end up with incorrect results or other issues. Even if you’re correct with the diagnosis, treatment requires professional attention. If you notice any symptoms of lumbar scoliosis, or scoliosis in general, it’s time to seek the help of a chiropractor specializing in scoliosis.

What Do Doctors Look For?

When a patient comes in claiming that they have scoliosis, doctors still have to perform a series of tests to confirm the condition. In many adult cases, patients are experiencing pain, height changes, one shoulder higher than the other, and other signs that lead doctors to do further testing. If scoliosis is suspected, an X-ray will often be ordered and what’s called a Cobb angle measurement will be taken.

The Cobb angle is the most commonly-used assessment method to indicate whether or not a patient has a curve in their spine and the severity of it. A forward bend test, a visual assessment that screens for indicators of the condition, is typically performed as well. A curvature of 10 degrees or more is when scoliosis is diagnosed by most medical professionals.

The pelvis should be at the center of the spine, and another test is sometimes done to review if there’s a slight deviation to either side of the pelvic bone. Lumbar scoliosis is the closest connection to this region, which makes it easy for specialists to spot.

The further the spine shifts off of the pelvic bone, the harder it will be to correct the curvature completely. In some cases, it can be a challenge to reduce a curvature significantly; however, when combined with the CLEAR method, an effective and sustainable, scoliosis-specific exercise regime can be highly beneficial.

Depending on the age of the child and the amount of degeneration in the spine, it can be quick to correct with stretches, chiropractic adjustments, and other basic exercises. Thanks to modern advancements in the industry, patients are able to have their spinal curvature reduced. Children typically receive better results, but adults can benefit from this method as well.

Using the CLEAR Method

The CLEAR method completely changed the way that we view scoliosis patients. It was put into practice in the year 2000, currently with 31 clinics offering the painless, drug-free solution to spinal curvatures and their symptoms. 

Perhaps the most impressive and convenient factor is that patients can do most of the exercises from home, or wherever they choose.

Doctors recommend that patients with lumbar scoliosis stay hydrated for two reasons:

  • It allows their muscle tissue to heal and react better to the exercises.
  • Hydration to help pump up the spinal discs, which prevents fragility and breakage.

However, when the discs and surrounding joints begin to break down, correction becomes a bit more challenging. There are certainly limits if a patient has irreparable bone damage. Surgery is a possibility, but one of the primary goals of the CLEAR approach is to avoid invasive surgery.

When a patient begins the CLEAR method, they’re going to be carefully instructed to use several different forms of simple, scoliosis-specific stretches and exercises.

Here are some of the most common activities:

  • Spinal weights might be added for muscle reprogramming. They’ll have more weight on one side to realign the spine and slowly shape it the correct way.
  • Foam rollers are used to loosen up and relax the muscle tissue around the affected area of the spine. They also might be used for sleeping to promote healthy posture.
  • Wedges are often used to change the way that a person stands and sits. If they lean to one side, a wedge will be placed underneath to lift and balance the patient.
  • Scoliosis-specific massage and chiropractic adjustments will also be part of the corrective agenda. The focus of these two activities is to relax the muscles and change the direction of the curvature.

CLEAR doctors use an X-ray to create a customized exercise routine for each patient. 

  • You won’t experience the same unique scoliosis-specific exercises as everyone else, since the doctors know that every person has a unique curve in their spine.

  • While they’re performing the X-rays, they often use movement studies to examine the spine in different positions. 
  • Not only does this help to create the previously-mentioned routine, but it also allows the doctor to see if a scoliosis brace is necessary.

Conclusion

Lumbar scoliosis is a very particular disorder that requires specific treatment. Self-diagnosis is never the right solution, but you should keep an eye out for the symptoms to see if you need to schedule a visit to the doctor’s office. Remember that some of those symptoms include:

  • Alterations in height
  • Slumped shoulders
  • Awkward walking and standing
  • Bumps and lumps around the lower back
  • Sciatic nerve pain, numbness, and tingling
  • One shoulder higher than the other
  • A gap between one arm and the body while standing

Doctors can perform assessments and measurements to check if a patient has lumbar scoliosis. Common diagnostic methods include visual assessments such as the Adam’s forward bend test, a scoliometer to measure the rib arch on one side of the body, X-ray images, and taking the patient’s Cobb angle measurement.

Using spinal weights, wedges, rolls, adjustments, and other tools, chiropractors specializing in scoliosis are often able to improve lumbar scoliosis without requiring drugs, injections, or surgery. Remember that a curvature can often be reduced, but in severe cases in which discs are permanently damaged, the repairs are limited. Treatment always works better when it’s performed before the condition progresses.

Additional Resources:

Disclaimer: The author’s views are his or her own and may not reflect the views of CLEAR Scoliosis Institute. (to be placed at the bottom of blog post)

Author: Dr. Mark Myers

Dr. Myers passion for health started at a young age while reading nutrition books in junior high. In high school, Dr. Myers did many reports on the powerful effects of alternative Medicine. When his own sister was diagnosed with scoliosis, he saw how it affected her health and function on a daily basis. This eventually led him to his decision to become CLEAR certified by the CLEAR Scoliosis Institute.
Reach out to Dr. Mark Myers

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This website is for informational and general purposes only. Information provided is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice because of something you have read on this site. 

CLEAR Scoliosis Centers are privately owned and operated chiropractic clinics. Doctors at CLEAR Scoliosis Centers are personally responsible for all clinical decision making. CLEAR Scoliosis Institute, a nonprofit organization, does not have any authority over the clinic, make any clinical recommendations, or dictate patient care.
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