Scoliosis Pain in Adults – Causes, Treatment and Therapies

What Causes Scoliosis Pain in adults? – Scoliosis refers to a curvature of the spine beyond the normal extent. Due to the extensive curves, whether such curves are minor or major, it can cause pressure on the spine and the nerves leading to pain. This is similar to the symptoms faced by those with carpal tunnel syndrome, where the major nerve of the hand is pressed due to compression from repetitive movements – except in the case of Scoliosis, it is usually the nerves all over the body, and in specific, the nerves in the back of the spinal area.

While many people are under the misconception that Scoliosis in children does not need to be treated, the truth is that the curvature of the spine can get worse and degenerate over time. The best way to ensure that the spinal curvature does not worsen is to identify the condition and take corrective action for it as soon as possible. This includes aspects such as retraining the muscle memory of the body and ensuring that the spinal bend does not progress over some time.

How Is Scoliosis Pain Treated?

While a lot of doctors tend to approach treating Scoliosis by treating the symptoms associated with Scoliosis, a better pain management technique is to treat the actual condition itself. Here are some of the various methods through which you can manage the pain caused due to Scoliosis.

Complementary Therapies

  • Massage and hydrotherapy: It has been shown that massages help a great deal in strengthening as well as relaxing the muscles. Similarly, for those who cannot perform high-impact activities on terrain, hydrotherapy is an ideal choice as the resistive factor of gravity is eliminated.
  • Various exercises such as yoga, stretching, and Pilates. The premise behind such exercises is that while the impact that they cause on the bones is minimal, they are hugely advantageous in strengthening and improving the posture of the body. Hence, these can also be considered viable treatment options for treating Scoliosis.
  • Braces: Braces such as spinal braces that correct the bend and fix any postural imbalances are also possible treatment options to treat both the conditions and the pain associated with Scoliosis.

Medication

Medicines such as acetaminophen (commonly found under the brand name Tylenol) and Ibuprofen (commonly found the brand name Advil) are also options that can be considered in treating pain that occurs due to Scoliosis. However, it must be remembered that these medicines treat the conditions (the pain) that occurs due to the condition and not Scoliosis itself.

If you find that your quality of life is deteriorating due to the pain from the condition leading to mood swings, anxiety, or depression, mood-stabilizing medication or anti-depressants can also be considered as an additional option.

Counselling

Those with chronic pain find that simple tasks that were very easy to perform earlier are now quite difficult and that the quality of life deteriorates. Chronic pain can often be debilitating and it can take quite a toll on people mentally. If you find that your mental state is deteriorating due to the pain that you are facing due to Scoliosis, various behavioural therapies such as CBT or Cognitive Behaviour Therapy may be considered. It must be remembered that while this may not help you reduce the amount of pain that you are feeling, it can help you develop sensible coping strategies to deal with the pain and learn to manage it to go about your daily life.

Spinal Injections 

Steroidal injections into the joints of your spines or nerves are also a treatment option for Scoliosis. However, these usually provide only temporary or short-term relief and are not long-lasting. They are usually administered as a part of an overall plan to control pain.

Spinal Cord Stimulation

One of the biggest reasons as to why someone with Scoliosis faces pain is due to the compression of spinal nerves. By stimulating the spinal cord through electrical wires, small electrical impulses can help manage the pain felt from Scoliosis. While this sounds scary, spinal cord stimulation is rarely painful and involves small impulses of electricity and is not similar to electric therapy.

What is the outlook for Scoliosis pain? 

While many doctors and pediatricians tend to prefer a symptomatic treatment to treat pain caused due to Scoliosis, the truth is that the pain will continue to exist as long as the condition is not corrected. The best way to manage pain caused due to Scoliosis is to treat the condition itself through some form of medical intervention.

However, if intervention for treating Scoliosis is not possible, not viable, or considered unnecessary in the present scenario, patients of Scoliosis can manage their pain through a variety of options. The best way forward to deal with Scoliosis pains is to discuss with your medical team and pain management team and come up with a holistic approach to deal with it.

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