When a scoliosis is diagnosed in adults, it is either a result of an previously undiagnosed scoliosis during adolescence which has only been detected in adulthood, or the result of spinal degeneration and instability. The latter is called DDS (Degenerative De-Novo Scoliosis) and is typically diagnosed from middle age onwards. It is often associated with complaints of pain.
Adult scoliosis/kyphosis and pain
By far the most common complaint of adult scoliosis/kyphosis patients is that of back pain. The pain is not necessary related to the severity of the curve, but rather where the curve is located and the patient's spinal balance.
Spinal balance refers to how the top and bottom of the patient's spine relate to each other in the front-to-back direction and side to side (left to right) directions. Research has shown that patients whose posture is shifted forwards or who are bent sideways offsetting their centre of gravity will develop more pain than those with a neutral or backwards posture.
Adult scoliosis/kyphosis treatment options
Primarily we use a mix of specialised exercises for the management of pain in adults. In some cases adults will be prescribed part time bracing. This is most helpful in managing pain caused by scoliosis/kyphosis and can prevent progression/aggravation of the curves. These adult braces differ from the adolescent braces in that the patient is not placed in the opposite/mirror image, which makes the brace more comfortable.