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Adult scoliosis refers to any individual who experiences symptoms of scoliosis and is over 18 years old. The term encompasses a broad range of different types of scoliosis that have varying causes. Because the spine of an adult is fully formed, adult scoliosis differs from pediatric scoliosis in many ways, including greater pain among those with adult scoliosis, and requires unique treatment methods.
Most often, non-operative methods are employed to treat adult scoliosis. Non-operative treatment begins with a thorough examination to discern what aspect of scoliosis is causing the patient to experience pain. Once the source is discovered, a treatment program that may include physical therapy, nerve root blocks, or epidural injections is designed for the patient. Diet changes may also be recommended to assist with management of osteoporosis, should it accompany the patient’s scoliosis.
Some curvatures may grow progressively worse and be accompanied by pain that is unresponsive to non-operative treatment or by neurological deficits. In patients with conditions such as this, surgery is a viable treatment option. The exact surgical process and recovery time depends on the nature of the scoliosis.