Scoliosis treatment for adults in the Denver area includes a range of options to manage pain and discomfort caused by lateral curvature of the spine. Scoliosis surgery for adults is one treatment option if you have developed adult-onset scoliosis that is causing pain. Other adult scoliosis treatment that might be tried before surgery include medications, physical therapy, spinal cord stimulation, or other interventional pain management procedures. Lifestyle changes, like eliminating smoking and losing weight, may also be recommended.
If you are searching for “adult scoliosis treatment near me” and you live in Colorado, Neurosurgery One’s expert Denver spine surgeons offer comprehensive care including pinpoint diagnosis, conservative therapies like physical therapy and injections, interventional pain management procedures, and minimally invasive spine surgery.
Treatment for adult onset scoliosis depends on several factors including the amount of pain you are experiencing, the amount of curvature in your spine, and your overall health and lifestyle goals. Depending on your unique set of factors and needs, spinal fusion surgery for scoliosis may be a consideration.
Neurosurgery One’s board-certified Denver neurosurgeons perform scoliosis surgery for adults. In addition to the information below, here are additional resources about adult scoliosis treatment:
- Video: Scoliosis surgery for adults, including one patient’s story.
- Video: Centura Health Grand Rounds: Spinal Curvature Treatment
- Article: Spinal Fusion Recovery
FAQs About Scoliosis Treatment for Adults
Continue reading below to learn more about adult scoliosis treatment in the Denver area or use these links to go directly to the information that interests you.
- What happens if scoliosis is left untreated in adults?
- Can scoliosis be corrected in adults?
- Can I relieve scoliosis pain at home?
- What is the best brace to treat scoliosis in adults?
- What are non-surgical adult scoliosis treatments?
- When should I have surgery for scoliosis?
- What kind of doctor treats scoliosis in adults?
- What degree of scoliosis requires surgery in adults?
- What types of scoliosis surgeries are recommended for adults?
- How long does it take to recover from scoliosis surgery?
Conditions We Treat
What happens if scoliosis is left untreated in adults?
Patients with mild scoliosis may not need or want treatment. However, as adults with scoliosis get older and the degree of spine curvature becomes greater, you could begin to experience increased pain.. If left untreated, advanced adult onset scoliosis can lead to skeletal deformities, increased pain, and, in some rare cases, result in complications to key organs like the lungs and heart, which can be affected by the curvature of the spine.
Can scoliosis be corrected in adults?
While scoliosis in adults is a progressive process that cannot be cured, we often can correct the curvature through surgery and, more importantly to patients, we can usually reduce or even eliminate the symptoms caused by scoliosis, most importantly pain. The key is early intervention. If you are struggling with back pain or you’ve been told by a medical provider that you may have scoliosis, it’s important to be seen by a Denver spine surgeon who specializes in adult scoliosis treatment or complex spinal surgery. By assessing your spine curvature and symptoms, we can track the progression of your scoliosis and recommend effective adult scoliosis treatments. Early monitoring and scoliosis treatment helps reduce existing pain and prevent further deterioration.
Can I relieve scoliosis pain at home?
Stretches and core strengthening exercises may provide you with some relief for your scoliosis pain. Over-the-counter medications also may be helpful in reducing your pain. Lifestyle changes like eliminating smoking and maintaining a healthy weight also may provide you with relief from your scoliosis pain.
While there is no known way to fix scoliosis naturally, many patients have found pain relief with exercises, like swimming, Pilates, and yoga, and others have used massage or acupuncture to improve their scoliosis symptoms.
What is the best brace to treat scoliosis in adults?
There are two main types of scoliosis braces: thoracic-lumbar-sacral orthosis (TSLO) and lumbar sacral orthosis (LSO). The TSLO is a custom-made brace that is generally used with adolescent scoliosis to prevent the spine from further curvature. It’s taller than the LSO brace to support the upper spine. An LSO brace immobilizes the lower spine. In general, braces are only effective in younger patients whose bones are still growing.
While there is no evidence that braces slow the progression of scoliosis in adults, some patients find that a brace provides them with pain relief. Wearing a brace as an adult scoliosis treatment is not going to harm you or make your scoliosis worse, so if you find that it helps you then we endorse wearing one.
A spinal brace may be recommended after scoliosis fusion surgery, primarily to help remind the patient of the short-term restrictions such as no bending, lifting, or twisting.
What are non-surgical adult scoliosis treatments?
There are multiple non-surgical treatments for scoliosis in adults. Non-surgical adult scoliosis treatments, referred to as conservative treatment, do not treat or fix the scoliosis but are designed to help reduce or eliminate the pain and discomfort caused by the scoliosis. Conservative treatments for adult scoliosis include physical therapy, epidural steroid injections, and neuromodulation, specifically spinal cord stimulation. Neuromodulation for scoliosis in adults is completely reversable and may be an option for patients who may be too frail for surgery, whose scoliosis is not getting worse but still have pain, or those who aren’t candidates for scoliosis surgery. Learn more about spinal cord stimulation in this blog on whether spinal cord stimulation really works in reducing back pain
When should I have surgery for scoliosis?
There is no definitive answer as to when is the best time for scoliosis surgery for adults The answer depends on two primary factors: How much pain is the scoliosis causing? And how fast is the scoliosis progressing? If you are experiencing intolerable pain that is stopping you from being active and non-surgical treatments have not helped, then your Denver spine surgeon may want to discuss spinal fusion surgery for scoliosis with you.
You also may want to consider scoliosis surgery if your pain from the scoliosis is tolerable but your scoliosis is getting worse fairly quickly. In that case, spinal fusion surgery for scoliosis may be recommended earlier when fewer levels of your spine need to be fused and minimally invasive surgery is an option. Denver spine surgeon Josh Beckman discusses the right time for scoliosis surgery in this video of a Grand Rounds presentation for physicians.
What kind of doctor treats scoliosis in adults?
Various kinds of doctors treat scoliosis in adults, ranging from primary care physicians to orthopedic specialists to neurosurgeons. The benefits of seeing a Denver spine surgeon for your adult onset scoliosis, regardless of whether or not your scoliosis is mild or severe, is that a spine surgeon can offer the complete range of scoliosis treatment options, from conservative approaches to spine fusion surgery and help you determine if earlier scoliosis surgery for adults would be better. Neurosurgery One’s Denver neurosurgeons have specialized training and expertise in treating spine conditions, including scoliosis in adults.
What degree of scoliosis requires surgery in adults?
Every adult with scoliosis will have unique factors that determine whether scoliosis surgery might be right for you. The American Association of Neurological Surgeons states that generally, a scoliosis curve of 50 degrees or more with signs of progression would indicate that you may need to consider spinal fusion surgery. If you are experiencing bowel or bladder issues or nerve damage in your legs, those are “red flag” symptoms that require immediate evaluation and may require immediate scoliosis surgery.
However, it’s important to discuss the pros and cons of scoliosis surgery with your spine surgeon as earlier surgery may be better. In some cases, earlier spinal fusion could allow you to have minimally invasive surgery with a faster recovery time.
What types of scoliosis surgeries are recommended for adults?
The most common type of scoliosis surgery for adults is spinal fusion. This is when two or more discs in your back are fused together. If you have degenerative scoliosis or spinal stenosis, decompression surgery may be recommended along with a spinal fusion. Both decompression surgery and spinal fusion surgery can be performed as open procedures, minimally invasive spine surgery, or a hybrid of both open and minimally invasive. The type of scoliosis surgery recommended depends on the location and degree of the curve of your spine, your overall health, your goals of surgery, and your fragility.
If you have osteoporosis or weak bones, building bone strength prior to surgery will improve the outcome. Neurosurgery One’s Bone Health Clinics in Lakewood and Littleton can assess bone strength and provide treatment plans that can help strengthen bones in as little as six weeks.
Minimally invasive scoliosis surgery for adults typically results in less blood loss and shorter hospital stays. However, minimally invasive surgery can take longer and generally is used only if a few levels of the spine need to be fused. Studies have shown that both open and minimally invasive spine surgery have similar outcomes 2 years after surgery.
How long does it take to recover from scoliosis surgery?
Recovery from scoliosis surgery depends on the type of surgery (open vs. minimally invasive), the location of your fusion, your health and fragility, as well as your overall bone health. Many patients stay in the hospital for 4-7 days and can move out of bed within a day or two following surgery.
Patients are usually advised not to bend, lift, or twist for a few months post-surgery, but most patients can return to limited activities within 2-4 weeks of scoliosis surgery. Most adults who undergo scoliosis surgery no longer need pain medications within 6 weeks of surgery.
Full recovery from scoliosis surgery typically takes 6-12 months. Around 6 months after surgery, your spine surgeon will assess your spinal fusion to make sure your bone has fused. If it has, you will likely be able to resume normal activities like bending, twisting, and lifting. Patients who smoke, are obese, suffer from depression, or have had prior spine surgeries may take longer to recover from scoliosis surgery.
Learn more about spinal fusion recovery in this blog post.