Treatments

Adult Scoliosis Treatments

Treatment for scoliosis is determined by several factors, including:

  • Your age
  • How likely are you to continue growing (if young enough, braces may also be used for treatment)
  • Degree and pattern of the curve
  • Type of scoliosis

Your physician may recommend several therapeutic options, including observation or surgery.

Observation

Your physician may check every four to six months to determine if the curve is getting better or worse. This is most commonly done in cases of slight curvature or in patients who are still growing.

Surgery

In cases when the curve is more than 45 degrees and is continuing to get worse, surgery may be performed. Surgical options typically include spinal fusion or the use of hardware (metal rods and/or screws) implants, to help keep the spine straight after surgery.

There are a number of approaches for surgery for adult scoliosis, including:

  • Posterior (back)
  • Anterior (front)
  • Combined (anterior and posterior)

The exact approach depends on the extent and degree of the curvature, the condition of the vertebrae, and the extent of the damage to the spine.

Recovery

Recovery time varies, depending on the severity of the condition and the extent of the surgery, as well as the age and health of the patient. The normal range of recovery can be three months to as many as six to nine months after the surgery. You may require time for rehabilitative therapy to aid in your recovery.

What won’t work

The following treatments have been found ineffective in keeping scoliosis from getting worse:

  • Chiropractic
  • Electrical stimulation
  • Exercise
  • Nutritional supplements

Research and clinical trials

Researchers are trying to discover what causes idiopathic scoliosis and what treatments can be used to help straighten the spine or keep curves from worsening. Clinical trials are part of clinical research and at the heart of all medical advances. They look at new ways to prevent, detect or treat adult scoliosis. The National Institutes of Health* also has clinical trials, including trials for scoliosis.

Treatments

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