what causes scoliosis in adults

While it was earlier assumed that scoliosis only affects children and teenagers, it is now established that adults can suffer from scoliosis as well. Even in identical twins, it is possible for one twin to develop scoliosis but the other does not. Scoliosis has been around for thousands of years, among people of every culture and country. It’s possible that problems with the first gene lead to more cases of thoracic scoliosis, and problems with the second are more likely to result in a lumbar curvature. Rather, it appears to be a combination of genetic and environmental factors that influences the development of scoliosis. The second common type of scoliosis seen in adults is degenerative scoliosis. When idiopathic scoliosis begins in adolescence and continues into adulthood with increasing symptoms, it’s called adult idiopathic scoliosis. Interestingly, there are two primary genes which influence spinal cord tension; one codes for the elasticity of the spinal cord proper, and the other regulates the elasticity of the spinal nerves that branch out in the lumbar spine. Although scoliosis is usually considered a disorder affecting adolescents, it is also found in adults. Once growth is no longer a factor, an abnormal curvature of the spine causes compression of the spine, its tissues, nerves, and surrounding muscles. Adult scoliosis is often a result of worn-out joints and spinal discs. Adult scoliosis may be a case of pediatric scoliosis that was undiscovered until adulthood. Scoliosis is a condition that causes the spine to curve abnormally, like the letter “S” or “C.” The spine may also twist and cause one side of the back to stick out more than the other. What causes scoliosis pain? Osteoporosis, disc and joint degeneration, a spinal compression fracture, or a combination of these problems can contribute to the development of adult scoliosis. For adolescents, depending on how severe their condition is, without that big signifier, they are often unaware the condition is present. Moderate deformity occurs when the facet joints and discs deteriorate over time and are no longer able to support the spine's normal posture. The cause of scoliosis often can’t be determined. When an adult patient develops scoliosis with no prior history, this is referred to as adult de novo scoliosis, and there are a number of causes for this: degenerative changes to the spine that can lead to osteoporosis, vertebral compression fractures, and stenosis. Adults may have either degenerative scoliosis or the cause is unknown (idiopathic.) CLEAR has developed a program of isometric, asymmetrical spinal exercises that patients perform both in the clinic and at home, to stretch and relax tight muscles while also developing and strengthening the weak ones. This article provides information about the causes of scoliosis, its symptoms and probable treatment options. While the most common form of scoliosis is adolescent idiopathic scoliosis, meaning scoliosis with no known single cause diagnosed in adolescents, adults can develop the condition too. Some types of scoliosis have a directly-identifiable cause. Figures 1-4: Progression of adult scoliosis from age 14 (top left) to age 46 … They theorized that this straightening of the spine and the loss of the normal good curves created a “de-stabilization” effect upon the spine, which rendered it vulnerable to developing scoliosis. This is called De Novo or degenerative scoliosis. All of these types of scoliosis, however, comprise less than 20% of the diagnosed cases. This type of scoliosis begins in the adult patient due to degeneration of the discs, arthritis of the facet joints and collapse and wedging of the disc spaces. A huge part of CLEAR treatment involves screening for and identifying any possible areas of ligament injury. After experiencing life changing results, he set his sights on helping others who face debilitating illness through providing more natural approaches. There are several different types of scoliosis. Scoliosis is a sideways curve in the spine commonly seen in children and adolescents 1). Adult Scoliosis. To understand why, it’s important to look at the characteristics of the spinal cord. This form of adult de novo scoliosis is often the result of a serious spinal fracture or break. Restoring the good curves is a vital step in ensuring that the spine has the strength and flexibility it needs to function properly. While many cases of adult scoliosis follow this pattern, there are instances of adults who develop the condition fresh in adulthood with no prior history, and that’s referred to as adult ‘de novo’ scoliosis. Never ignore professional medical advice because of something you have read on this site. In severe cases, posture can also be affected. Less frequently, it … Arthritis, disc and nerve compression in the spine, and difficulty breathing are also common. Many de novo cases are caused by the weakening of the facet joints and discs of the lower spine; this can lead to a shift that causes the spine to slip out of alignment and scoliosis to develop. Scoliosis rarely causes pain in children an adolescents. Other causes: Poor posture, carrying backpacks or satchels, … Information provided is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. In some cases, the curve progresses and begins to cause symptoms in adulthood. Less commonly, scoliosis may be caused by: the bones in the spine not forming properly in the womb – this is called congenital scoliosis and is present from birth an underlying nerve or muscle condition, such as cerebral palsy or muscular dystrophy – this is called neuromuscular scoliosis Many decades ago, scientists observed that people with scoliosis tend to have a flattening of the upper and middle back (thoracic kyphosis). All Rights Reserved. Degenerative scoliosis is caused by a gradual deterioration of the facet joints (small stabilizing joints of the spine located between and behind adjacent vertebrae). In other words, when you have a headache, the cause of the headache is not a deficiency of aspirin. Women going through menopause are more likely to develop osteoporosis because of the loss of bone mass, plus hormonal changes, that occur. It used to be thought that scoliosis was solely a concern for those who hadn’t yet reached skeletal maturity; this turned out not to be the case. This is because, for the largest group of patients with scoliosis (adolescents), pain is rarely part of their experience. It’s once they’ve reached skeletal maturity and the condition has progressed in severity that the condition’s symptoms become more noticeable. Causes of Scoliosis in Adults. 2 Many people with scoliosis develop pain in other parts of their bodies due to their postural misalignment, which puts uneven stress on the hips, knees, neck, and shoulders. Bone density loss isn't just a women's issue, though. Adult Idiopathic Scoliosis. Yet for all the time we have studied scoliosis, its true causes remain elusive. CLEAR Doctors utilize several tests, such as the modified Cox sign developed by Dr. Matt Janzen, that are intended to evaluate how great of a role spinal tethering plays in each individual case. People with scoliosis often have difficulty balancing with the eyes closed, or balancing on an unstable surface. Other less common causes of scoliosis are neuromuscular discord such as Arnold Chiari malformation, a congenital misshaped vertebrae, neurofibromatosis, connective tissue disorders such as Marfan’s or Eheler-Danlos, trauma-induced and post-surgical scoliosis. Keep in mind that not every one of these potential causes might apply in every case. In most cases, scoliosis does not develop due to only one cause, but a combination of causes with varying degrees of influence. Roughly two-thirds of adults with scoliotic curves between 20 and 55 degrees experience back pain. Degenerative scoliosis happens in late adulthood due to degeneration of the spinal discs. In adults it may show itself as a shape change with asymmetry of the trunk. Numbness 3. Also, the postural changes that scoliosis can cause can also be subtle and difficult for the average person to spot. Degenerative scoliosis, also known as adult onset scoliosis, describes a side-to-side curvature of the spine caused by degeneration of the facet joints and intervertebral discs which are the moving parts of the spine. In this article, surgeons from the Twin Cities Spine Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota review the causes, symptoms, and treatment of this type of degenerative scoliosis. Degenerative scoliosis occurs most frequently in the lower back (lumbar spine) and more commonly affects adults age 65 and older. As this age group is constantly growing, the spine is experiencing a lengthening motion that counteracts the compressive forces of gravity. It is also possible that genetic factors may predispose some individuals to be at a higher risk for developing scoliosis than others; however, even genetic factors can potentially be influenced through the science of epigenetics. In order to make long-term changes to posture, the brain and body must be influenced in a subconscious, reactive manner. Sometimes, there is no known cause – known as idiopathic scoliosis. What Is Scoliosis? Osteoporosis can also lead to vertebral compression fractures, and these are also connected to the development of adult degenerative scoliosis. Vertebral compression fractures (VCFs) happen when the vertebral body of the spine collapses. Overview Diagnosis and Tests Management and Treatment Prevention Outlook / Prognosis. When the spine’s architecture is altered due to some kind of trauma, an abnormal curvature can develop as a result. If the scoliosis is straightened without first restoring the good curves, the spine ends up straight and unstable again. Taking aspirin only blocks the pain signals, much like removing the Check Engine light from your dashboard “fixes” the problem with your car. CLEAR recognizes how food, chemicals, and vitamins can influence the health of the body, and provides its doctors with suggested dietary guidelines and nutritional supplements to give to their patients. By teaching the brain new ways of activating the muscles in a more balanced fashion, the permanence of the achieved correction is enhanced, leading to much improved long-term outcomes. CLEAR Scoliosis Institute, a nonprofit organization, does not have any authority over the clinic, make any clinical recommendations, or dictate patient care. When those adolescents reach skeletal maturity, the condition’s symptoms, mainly pain, become more noticeable and lead to an official diagnosis. Other times, it could be due to the natural aging process, or degenerative. When ligament instability is found, the entire treatment approach is modified to avoid causing additional injury to these ligaments. Scoliosis affects about 2% of females and 0.5% of males. Sign up to receive facts and information you won’t find anywhere else. In order to understand the most common forms of adult scoliosis, we’ll first take a look at why so many adult cases are carried from adolescence. Traumatic scoliosis can also be caused by injuries to structures other than the spine itself, such as surrounding muscles and tissues that are needed to support the spine and keep it aligned. Declining Bone Density Causes Adult Scoliosis. Progression of the disease from childhood such as when scoliosis is not treated early or goes unnoticed during childhood. Idiopathic (coming from an unknown cause) scoliosis is usually … normal spine has several front-to-back curves between the neck and the pelvis The majority of scoliosis cases are termed idiopathic, meaning of undetermined cause. Additional ongoing research suggests that certain heavy metals such as mercury may also have a negative effect upon the ligaments, weakening them and encouraging the development of scoliosis. It’s also possible for scoliosis to develop in adults due to disease, surgery, or trauma, although this is less common. Surgery is not your only option when it comes to improving the curvature of your spine - here at Scoliosis SOS, we provide non-surgical treatment courses that have shown to be very effective indeed. Typically, the pain you experience with adult onset scoliosis is the result of pressure on your spinal disks, pressure on facet joints, and muscle pain. Menopause can lead to bone mineral loss which causes the spine to deteriorate rapidly. When the spinal cord lengthens, due to the orientation of the fibers of the dura mater, it creates a “pincer”-effect upon the nerves. Osteoporosis is a common condition linked to the development of adult scoliosis and is caused by a loss of bone mass, basically making the bones thinner. What causes this in turn is not known for certain, but it suggests that rehabilitation strategies aimed at improving balance, coordination, and proprioception might help prevent scoliosis from getting worse. The most common form of adult scoliosis is degenerative (spine curves as you age). The scoliotic curves may be … Believe it or not, scoliosis in adult women over the age of 60 is fairly common and often related to changes in bone health and hormones related to menopause. In this type, the normal wear and tear on the lower back during the aging process leads to the development of a curve in the spine. In most cases, the cause of scoliosis is unknown (known as idiopathic). This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged. Studies show that bone spurs and degenerative disc disease probably start the process that leads to scoliosis. Abnormal reflexes Scoliosis refers to a degenerative spinal condition that is caused due to an abnormal curving of the spine. Idiopathic means, “without known cause.” It doesn’t mean there is no cause - simply that it is not readily apparent. While this is a rare form of adult de novo scoliosis, neuromuscular diseases such as cerebral palsy, polio, and muscular dystrophy can also lead to the development of scoliosis. ‘De novo’ means new, meaning the patient didn’t have scoliosis in the past. In this week’s blog, find out how scoliosis can affect the legs and back and how many patients can overcome symptoms without surgery. Scoliosisassociates.com - Spinal Stenosis, Americanassociationofneurologicalsurgeons.org - Vertebral Compression Fractures, Usnationallibraryofmedicine - Degenerative Scoliosis: A Review. When adolescent idiopathic scoliosis progresses into adulthood undiagnosed, it becomes known as idiopathic adult scoliosis, and this is by far the most common form of adult scoliosis. The cause of adult scoliosis varies depending on the type of scoliosis. Patients with scoliosis tend to be more flexible than others, due to changes in the structure of their ligaments. Some research suggests that scoliosis may have a genetic cause. This sheath wraps around the spinal cord in cross-striated fibers, much like the fibers of a Chinese finger trap. Not only can adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS) differ greatly in severity level from patient to patient, it has no known cause, and can also be very difficult to diagnose. Welcome to Scoliosis Reduction Center. Copyright © 2019 CLEAR Scoliosis Institute. Typically, the pain you experience with adult onset scoliosis is the result of pressure on your spinal disks, pressure on facet joints, and muscle pain. Written by Stewart G. Eidelson, MD Adult scoliosis occurs when the spine curves abnormally to the left or right. A diagnosis of ADS is most often reached through performing a physical exam/visual assessment, inspecting the patient’s medical history for any pathology, and reading their X-ray images. We know that scoliosis is not directly caused by problems with the genes. Adult degenerative scoliosis (also called adult onset scoliosis) is caused by the degeneration of the facet joints that help the spine bend smoothly, and the intervertebral discs that absorb the shock between the vertebrae. Treatmen… While this lack of pain is a good thing for those experiencing it, the flip side is that it makes it harder to diagnose; pain tells us that something wrong is happening within the body. While scoliosis is rare in infants, infantile scoliosis can affect people before the age of 3 years. With spinal stenosis, the spine’s vertebrae, along with surrounding tissue, can extend into the spinal canal and compress the nerves as they’re exiting the spine. The idea that problems with communication between the brain and the body lies behind the cause of scoliosis has been steadily gaining interest over the last decade. In other cases, it is not diagnosed until adulthood. Below is a brief summary of clinical observations and theories put forward by the CLEAR Scoliosis Institute as to how scoliosis might arise in some individuals, and how our treatment aims to address those factors. Active exercises are helpful in rehabilitating muscle imbalances, but reactive exercises help to rehabilitate imbalances in the cerebellum and the posture control centers of the brain. When spinal structures begin to degenerate due to wear and tear, it can cause an abnormal curvature in the spine. Common symptoms of ADS include muscle fatigue, back pain, radiating pain into the legs and feet, and feelings of stiffness or numbness in the back and legs. How is adult scoliosis diagnosed? While there is no evidence that scoliosis is directly linked to any particular deficiency of vitamins and minerals, we believe that it is possible for an individual person to be affected by deficiencies or poor diet, that can in turn have effects upon their musculoskeletal system. The challenge of early detection is the reason so many adolescents grow into adulthood without knowing they have scoliosis, which is why so many cases of idiopathic adult scoliosis are actually cases of AIS that were undiagnosed and untreated. Another spinal condition that can lead to the development of scoliosis in adults is known as ‘spinal stenosis’. Scoliosis is often associated with low bone density (osteopenia) and joint hypermobility (ligament laxity). Scoliosis can cause many complications later in life, but if you seek treatment before your spine deteriorates too far, many of these issues can be nipped in the bud and avoided altogether. We’ve learned that idiopathic scoliosis that first appears during adolescence can continue progressing into adulthood, and as age increases, so too does the likelihood of curvature progression. The vast majority of scoliosis cases diagnosed (over 80%) are termed idiopathic. Adult scoliosis and kyphosis can be caused by age-related wear and tear on the back or complications from past surgeries. Some types of chemicals appear to influence the prevalence of scoliosis. But more and more, older adults are experiencing this condition, too. Our protocols are designed to rehabilitate and restore the good, healthy curves of the spine. While scoliosis can sometimes be hereditary, or the result of a past trauma, the primary cause of adult deformity is aging, or natural wear-and-tear, as well as degenerative arthritis that occurs within the joints of … The cause of scoliosis in adults can vary and depends on the type of scoliosis. About 3% of adolescents have scoliosis.Most cases of scoliosis are mild, but some spine deformities continue to get more severe as children grow. CLEAR uses an advanced system of reactive therapies, including spinal weighting and balance training exercises, to improve balance and coordination. It is possible for certain genes to predispose an individual to develop scoliosis, but there is no way to tell just by looking at the genes if a person will develop scoliosis or not. Additional causes of adult scoliosis include degenerative changes to the spine that can accompany aging, conditions that weaken the spine, trauma, and neuromuscular disease. Studies have found that tension in the muscles arises as a consequence of scoliosis, after it has progressed to a certain point. VCFs present with severe pain and discomfort and can lead to the development of adult scoliosis. Adult degenerative scoliosis, which commonly arises after the age of 40 or 50, is caused by degenerative changes in spinal discs. This compression can cause back pain and radiating pain into the legs and feet. The genetic factors involved with scoliosis appear to revolve around the genes responsible for regulating normal development of the bones and ligaments. The chlorine in indoor swimming pools as well as the additives in meat have been found to increase the rate at which scoliosis develops. Adult idiopathic scoliosis is a case that existed in childhood. Adult scoliosis can cause low-back pain, but it’s often leg pain or sciatica that drives patients to the Spine Center. Causes of Adult Scoliosis There are many different types of scoliosis, but the two most common forms of adult scoliosis are worsening of a scoliosis known from adolescence or degenerative scoliosis. Copyright © 2020 - Scoliosis Reduction Center. There are several dangerous and harmful myths about adult scoliosis that unfortunately result in preventable pain and disability for thousands of scoliosis sufferers. Other possible causes include: Scoliosis, an abnormal curve of the spine, is often diagnosed in childhood. Neuromuscular scoliosis is caused by a disorder like spina bifida, cerebral palsy, or a spinal cord injury. When adults develop scoliosis, it’s typically between the ages of 60 and 70, and in a form called degenerative scoliosis. What is adult scoliosis? If the condition is not severe and is not causing any pain, treatment may not be needed. It interferes with the function of the spinal cord, and that can throw off the spine’s biomechanics and lead to the development of spinal deformities like scoliosis. Adult Scoliosis Menu. Conditions that weaken the vertebrae of the spine can lead to the development of an abnormal spinal curvature as the spine’s ability to support itself is compromised. By far, the most common type is “idiopathic,” which means the exact cause is not known. Degenerative scoliosis is one of the most common forms of adult scoliosis; it’s caused by a weakening of the spine, and its parts, caused by the cumulative effect of lifestyle choices and aging. The 4 Most Dangerous Myths about Scoliosis in Adults. Scoliosis is defined as a lateral curve to the spine that is greater than 10 degrees with vertebral rotation 2). Before your doctor can suggest a treatment plan, if adult scoliosis is suspected, he/she will need to take a history. Scoliosis is a very complex condition, and it is very rare for a complex condition to arise from one obvious cause. What Causes Scoliosis in Adults? Posture is an automatic, involuntary system. CLEAR Scoliosis Centers are privately owned and operated chiropractic clinics. Pain results from stressed joints and pinched nerves, not the abnormal curve. In some individuals, spinal cord tension plays a very minor role; in others, it could be the primary driving factor behind the scoliosis. Neuromuscular scoliosis, for example, occurs when a disease such as muscular dystrophy or cerebral palsy causes the spine to develop a scoliosis. Curvature of the spine often occurs in adolescents, when rapid growth of the bones leads to abnormality. More commonly, though, adult scoliosis happens as a result of the spinal wear and tear that comes with aging, usually in combination with another condition that affects the spine, such as arthritis or osteoporosis. The Roth-Porter concept, as well as the RASO (Relative Anterior Spinal Overgrowth) concept, revolve around the idea that the nerves (spinal cord) running through the spine (spinal column) are tethered at the top (brain) and the bottom of the spine. As a person ages, the spine’s vertebrae, ligaments, and discs can face degenerative changes, weakening the spine and causing it to curve abnormally. Our team, under the leadership of Dr. Tony Nalda, is focused on treating your scoliosis in the most patient-centered, effective manner possible. However, adults may also be diagnosed with scoliosis, either when a curve that existed in their youth progresses, or as a de novo (newly diagnosed condition) that can result from degenerative changes in the spine or osteoporosis. There are also various stretches and therapies that CLEAR prescribes to help improve the flexibility of the nerves themselves. Influenced in a form called degenerative scoliosis may develop symptoms with aging require. Be … the 4 most Dangerous myths about scoliosis in adults environmental factors that influences the of... Balance training exercises, to improve balance and coordination their experience to osteoporosis! 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