Scoliosis in Adults
Scoliosis is often associated with adolescence, as most cases are detected during growth spurts preceding puberty. However, it can persist into adulthood or even begin in adulthood itself, often referred to as adult degenerative scoliosis or De-novo scoliosis.
What causes Adult Scoliosis?
Adult scoliosis can be a continuation of adolescent idiopathic scoliosis, or it can develop de novo due to spinal degeneration associated with aging. The latter, known as degenerative scoliosis, can occur from the cumulative effect of wear and tear on the spine’s components, namely the discs and joints.
Symptoms of adult scoliosis can include chronic back pain, uneven hips or shoulders, back stiffness/loss of flexibility, a noticeable rib prominence when bending over, and in severe cases, difficulty breathing.
What can we do to help?
Just like adolescent scoliosis, there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ treatment approach. The treatment of adult scoliosis is primarily focused on managing symptoms and improving quality of life. The choice of treatment largely depends on the severity of the curvature, the location of the curve, the patient's overall health, and the impact of the symptoms on the patient's daily activities.
Physiotherapeutic Scoliosis-Specific Exercises
Physiotherapeutic scoliosis-specific exercises (PSSE) are a specialised form of physiotherapy aimed at managing and reducing the progression of scoliosis. In adults, the goal of PSSE is to decelerate curve progression, reduce pain, improve muscle strength and postural alignment, and enhance overall function and quality of life.
Chronic pain can significantly affect the quality of life in adult scoliosis patients. Our pain management strategies include a combination of targeted exercises, postural adjustments and manual therapy. We will educate you on lifestyle modifications specific to your curve such as sleeping positions or desk set up.
Pre/Post Surgery Rehabilitation
In severe cases, or when the curve is rapidly progressing, surgery may be recommended. The most common type of surgery for scoliosis is spinal fusion. If you require surgery, we provide physiotherapy before and after the procedure to maximise function and recovery.