Patients with scoliosis have abnormal curvatures of the spine. These abnormal curvatures typically appear in adolescence, although some older adults develop different forms of scoliosis. Unfortunately, it is not currently possible to prevent scoliosis from occurring. Instead, spine surgeons focus on preventing the condition from growing progressively worse. They also emphasize the prevention of complications related to scoliosis. This is accomplished through early detection efforts and aggressive management of the condition when needed.
Early Detection of Scoliosis
It is standard for school nurses across the country to conduct brief screening exams for abnormal spinal curves. If scoliosis is not detected during these exams, it is usually found during a routine appointment with a pediatrician. When a school nurse or pediatrician expresses concerns about a child’s spinal development, that family will usually be referred to a spine doctor for further evaluation of possible spinal deformities. Adults might not have the benefit of spinal screenings, but they can still support the early detection of scoliosis by bringing their unusual symptoms to the attention of their doctors. Adult-onset scoliosis might be accompanied by low back pain and stiffness, and shooting pains, cramping, numbness, and weakness down the legs.
Nonsurgical Management of Scoliosis
Detecting and managing the problem early can help prevent the abnormal curvatures from getting worse. Children with mild curves may be monitored regularly by the spine doctor. Those with moderate scoliosis might be good candidates for spinal bracing, which can help prevent the progression of the abnormal curvature.
Surgical Options for Scoliosis Patients
For patients with severe scoliosis, surgery may be the only way to prevent further progression and to prevent possible complications. Spinal surgery can help decrease the degree of the abnormal curve, although it might not entirely correct it. Surgery also involves stabilizing the spine, such as by fusing two or more vertebrae together. This prevents movement between the vertebrae and consequently prevents the curvature from growing worse.
At Spine Institute of Nevada, you’ll find a continuum of care-from diagnostics to treatment to follow-up care. If you require spine surgery in the Las Vegas area for scoliosis management, you can call us at (702) 979-4763 to schedule a comprehensive evaluation with our board-certified spinal surgery specialist. Visit us online if you would like to read more about your diagnosis.