Bracing, surgery, wait and see — the typical treatment options focus on adolescent scoliosis, despite the fact that a greater percentage of adults than children have the condition. As many as seven in 10 adults over the age of 60 have scoliosis , compared to just 3 to 5 percent of adolescents — and some doctors believe the number will increase over the next 20 years as people live longer. In fact, researchers have found that when doctors focus on treating the underlying cause of scoliosis symptoms, adult patients experience less pain and improve their ability to function. This groundbreaking study has given hope to thousands of adults with scoliosis who struggle daily with pain and other symptoms. Most people think of scoliosis as a condition that affects only adolescents — not something adults struggle with. Adolescent curves over 50 degrees are likely to continue growing and can advance by up to 2 degrees per year.
Scoliosis In Adults: Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatments
What is Mild Scoliosis?
You may have more power over adult scoliosis than you think. Doctors can offer you various treatment options, and there are things you can do to help yourself. Here are five things you might be surprised to hear about adult scoliosis. Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. In many cases, treatment for scoliosis is aimed at relieving symptoms rather than fixing the curve in the spine.
5 Surprising Facts About Adult Scoliosis
Scoliosis is an abnormal curvature of the spine backbone. There is a natural, forward-and-backward curve to the spine. With scoliosis, the spine rotates and develops a side-to-side curve. Curves may be as mild as 10 degrees, or as severe as degrees or more.
Scoliosis is a lateral or sideways curvature of the spine in one or more places. This different from the condition known as kyphosis , where the spine has an abnormal, forward-oriented curvature. Scoliosis most frequently occurs in children and teenagers. However, adults may also be diagnosed with scoliosis, either when a curve that existed in their youth progresses, or as a de novo newly diagnosed condition that can result from degenerative changes in the spine or osteoporosis. Figures Progression of adult scoliosis from age 14 top left to age 46 lower right.