Coast Spine and Sports Medicine specializes in the treatment of orthopedic conditions in Orange County, Los Angeles County and Inland Empire. We offer scoliosis treatment for adolescents and adults that begins with the most conservative measures first.
What Is Scoliosis?
Scoliosis is a common condition that refers to an abnormal sideways curvature of the spine. This condition usually happens shortly before puberty when adolescents are experiencing a growth spurt, but it can also happen in adulthood. In these cases, it’s often referred to as degenerative scoliosis. Scoliosis can range from mild to severe, which can be disabling and make it difficult for the lungs to work correctly.
Common signs of scoliosis can include:
- One hip that’s noticeably higher than the other
- An uneven waist
- A shoulder blade that seems more prominent or uneven shoulders
In adulthood, scoliosis can cause more symptoms due to spinal disc degeneration and joint degeneration, which narrows openings for the spinal nerves and spinal sac. Adults are more likely to experience lower back pain, stiffness, numbness, and pain in the legs.
What Causes Scoliosis?
It isn’t always known what causes scoliosis to develop. While the disorder can run in families, it can also be caused by birth defects, neuromuscular disorders, and spinal injuries. In adults, scoliosis is often degenerative and caused by degeneration of spinal discs and facet joints of the spine. These moving parts of the spine can fail and allow the spine to slowly fall out of symmetry.
What Is Adolescent Scoliosis Treatment in Orange County?
At Coast Spine and Sports Medicine, we take a comprehensive approach to treating spinal disorders like scoliosis. While surgery is sometimes necessary, we believe it should be used after exhausting other treatments that are less costly and do not carry the same risks and recovery period.
When the curvature of the spine is less than 20 degrees, the condition will likely just be monitored. The curve may stay the same or it may get worse and necessitate treatment. When the curvature is between 20 and 40 degrees, a scoliosis brace is typically used.
A scoliosis brace can’t correct curvature of the spine, but it can stop the progression as the child grows. These braces are usually made of a hard plastic material. Depending on the location and severity of the curve, an elastic brace may be used or a hard brace may be necessary.
More severe curvature will necessitate scoliosis surgery to fuse the curved vertebrae into a single bone. This procedure can make the spine straight again.
What Is Adult Degenerative Scoliosis Treatment?
Depending on the severity of the scoliosis, adult scoliosis (degenerative) treatment typically consists of a scoliosis brace or surgery. Nerve block injections can also be used to temporarily relieve pain from the scoliosis and related conditions, including compressed nerves and degenerated discs. Surgery may be recommended when non-surgical solutions have failed, you are dealing with disabling pain or spinal imbalance, and scoliosis has restricted activities.
How Is Scoliosis Surgery Performed in Orange County?
The most common surgery to treat severe scoliosis is a spinal fusion. This procedure realigns the vertebrae and fuses the curved vertebrae together into a single piece of bone. This procedure can significantly straighten the curve and stop the curve from growing. The vertebrae will only be straightened to a safe degree, however, which depends on the flexibility of the curve.
During the procedure, an incision will be made in the back and the muscles will be moved to expose the spine. Joints between vertebrae are removed to loosen the vertebrae and the vertebrae are roughened to prompt the production of new bone. A bone graft is used to bridge the new gap between the bones. Metal implants hold the spine in place while the bones of the vertebrae grow together into a single bone.
If you have been diagnosed or suspect you or your child have scoliosis, contact us today to schedule an appointment to create a tailored treatment plan. Coast Spine and Sports Medicine serves patients in Orange County and Los Angeles County.