Scoliosis is the presence of an abnormal curvature of the spine. Scoliosis may affect the cervical (upper), thoracic (middle) and lumbar (lower) regions of the spine. The curves, which veer to the left or right, often present in an S- or C-shape. These curvatures may be categorized as non-structural — meaning the curve is temporary and the spine is structurally normal — or structural, meaning that the spine has a fixed curve.
The cause of scoliosis may result from a birth defect, neuromuscular disorder, injury or infection of the spine. Adult onset scoliosis is rare — most adults develop scoliosis symptoms during their childhood or teenage years, then are likely diagnosed later in life.
Scoliosis may also cause several other spine conditions, such as spinal stenosis (the abnormal narrowing of the spine) and foraminal stenosis (a narrowing of the open spaces in the lumbar spine).
Types of scoliosis
- Congenital scoliosis — This form of scoliosis refers to the abnormal development of the spine in the womb. Spinal bones that become fused together or do not properly form during gestation lead to congenital scoliosis. This type of scoliosis may affect one or all levels of the spine. Because congenital scoliosis symptoms can appear in any level of the spine, it has a wide range of severity.
- Neuromuscular scoliosis — This type of scoliosis is caused by a neurological or muscular disease, such as muscular dystrophy or cerebral palsy. The severity of neuromuscular scoliosis varies due to the unpredictability of treatment options and causes.
- Uneven shoulders and/or waist
- One hip that is higher than the other
- One prominent shoulder blade
- Neck and back pain
- Difficulty breathing (in severe cases)
- Numbness, cramps and shooting pain in the legs
To relieve painful symptoms, nonsurgical treatments may be recommended, such as pain medication, physical therapy and exercise, among others.
If conservative treatments do not relieve your symptoms after a few weeks or months, Laser Spine Institute may be able to help. Our minimally invasive decompression and minimally invasive stabilization procedures can treat symptoms related to scoliosis in the lower back.
Our outpatient procedures are muscle-sparing and allow our patients to experience a quicker recovery ^ compare to people who undergo traditional open spine surgery.
If scoliosis condition is affecting your quality of life, contact us for your no-cost MRI review.* We can help you determine if you are a candidate for our minimally invasive spine surgery.