While we often think of scoliosis as a disease that affects adolescents, recent studies have begun to explore the prevalence and effects of scoliosis in adults. While the rate of scoliosis in adolescents is commonly estimated around 2 to 4 percent, studies looking for scoliosis in adults have found rates between 12 and 20 percent. One study, looking at healthy adults over the age of 60, detected scoliosis in 68%. It’s clear that the rate of scoliosis actually increases with age.
Scoliosis in adults can be separated into two distinct groups:
Adult idiopathic scoliosis is a case that existed in childhood. Adult degenerative scoliosis, which commonly arises after the age of 40 or 50, is caused by degenerative changes in spinal discs.
It’s also possible for scoliosis to develop in adults due to disease, surgery, or trauma, although this is less common.
Many problems with neck, back, leg, and nerve pain can be traced to an undiagnosed or untreated scoliosis.
If you are experiencing problems, you may want to consider having an x-ray taken to determine if scoliosis is the cause. There are other methods of scoliosis screening, but they tend to be less effective at identifying scoliosis in adults. An x-ray is the primary method of accurately assessing the presence (or absence) of scoliosis in the spine. Adults with scoliosis are at a higher risk for pain and disability, and unfortunately, treatment options are limited. Scoliosis bracing is typically recommended only for younger patients who are skeletally mature. The most commonly recommended treatment for scoliosis in adults is spinal surgery. However, adult spinal surgeries tend to have a higher rate of complications and side effects compared to adolescents.
Yes. The CLEAR Scoliosis Institute provides another treatment option for adults living with scoliosis. The CLEAR Scoliosis Treatment Protocols have helped many adults with scoliosis, from ages 18 to 80, and above! It’s never too late to receive care.
We can help you locate a CLEAR Certified Doctor near you. If there is not a CLEAR Certified Doctor in your area, please contact one of our Intensive Care centers. These clinics specialize in providing treatment and achieving results over shorter periods of time (usually one or two weeks).
The goal of treating scoliosis in an adult is subtly different from that of an adolescent. The primary goal of treating scoliosis in an adolescent is to prevent progression. In adults, most cases of scoliosis will not progress, though there are exceptions. The goal of CLEAR treatment for adult scoliosis is to reduce any active pain, restore any current limitations in physical function, and restore balance to the body to prevent future problems.